Monday, 7 September 2015

09:32 – We made up a small batch of bread dough at 3:00 p.m. yesterday. It rose overnight to about twice its initial size and is baking right now. The recipe is easy enough: three cups of white flour (actually, 420 grams because I use mass instead of volume measure), a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of yeast, and 1.5 cups of water. That’s sufficient to make one standard loaf of about one pound.

You can just run the numbers for whatever your target is. For example, if you want to be able to bake one of these loaves every day for a year, you’ll need about 350 pounds of flour, plus the requisite amounts of salt, yeast (or another leavening agent), and water. That loaf/day will provide about 1,700 calories/day toward your total needs, along with a significant amount of (incomplete) protein. One loaf/day would be a reasonable amount if you’re feeding four to six people. More people than that, if you’re also storing a lot of pasta, rice, potatoes, etc., and less than that if you’re depending heavily on bread, pancakes, and similar foods.

That 350 pounds of white flour is seven 50-pound bags, which you can repackage in a bunch of 2-liter soda bottles or roughly 70 one-gallon foil-laminate Mylar bags. If it were me, I’d go with mostly or all bread flour rather than all-purpose flour, because bread flour has more protein (gluten), and can be used for just about anything. As to the yeast, we keep several kilos of SAF instant yeast on hand in 1-pound foil packages, which we store in the freezer, but there are alternatives if you don’t want to store that much. Obviously, you can keep a batch of sourdough starter. We don’t do that because Barbara and I don’t particularly like the flavor of sourdough bread, although we could start a batch of sourdough starter if we ran short of yeast. You can also substitute baking powder, or baking soda with an acid like vinegar to leaven the bread.