As a public service announcement I’m providing the following Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight. You might want to get a pen and write this down because it’s absolutely true:
Bread should improve your sandwich; not wrap lunch meat in disappointment.
Unless you paid a boatload for it, the bread you’re eating is crap. If you paid a whole lot, it is probably the same crap with seeds sprinkled on top. This leads me to my second Gem Of Insight:
Idiots can bake bread.
Peasants in mud huts make bread. It requires almost no technology whatsoever.
Being an American I bought an appliance. (I need an appliance to make something that can be created by a goatherd with a pan and a sack of flour? Yes! Yes I do! God bless our mechanized world!)
Armed with a second hand bread maker and no skill whatsoever I’ve made eleventy gazillion loaves of bread. I know one recipe and it’s on page four of the book from the bread maker. (Curmudgeons don’t mess with any recipe that takes too many ingredients.) Every loaf of bread tasted pretty good. Not astounding but darned tasty.
There was something missing before I could crank the dial to eleven; better ingredients. Since my loaves of bread were nothing but flour and some minor components I decided to upgrade the flour. Because I’ve got too much time on my hands I read up on the subject and made a discovery which I’ll provide as my third Gem of Insight:
All the flour you’ve ever bought was stale and shitty. All the food you’ve ever eaten was probably made from stale shitty flour.
How to rectify this? Buy another machine! (Curmudgeons like machines.) Some time ago I bought a wheat grinder (or flour mill if you want to sound sissy). I dump wheat in the top and flour comes out the bottom. It’s noisy enough to be satisfying without requiring any real knowledge to operate.
My flour is 100% whole wheat (unlike a lot of stuff that looks and is packaged like whole wheat). How do I know this? Because I looked everywhere and there is no secret portal to outer space within my mill. What goes in must come out in the flour.
Wheat lasts forever but flour (especially if it’s 100% of the wheat) goes stale. (Originally commercial flour was enriched and subjected to various black magic to make it last longer. Over time, the ability to grind shit and put it in a bag without further tinkering was mostly lost to humanity. Go figure.) I dump wheat into the mill, dump the resulting flour into the bread machine, add a few crude ingredients, and then drink beer while the machine does the work. (The beer is optional but why would you forgo it?)
Using the freshest possible ingredients results in some damn fine bread. How good? Astounding. Otherworldly. If I ever go to page five of the recipe book I’ll probably die of joy. Luckily I’m too lazy.
Now you know the secret. If an ignorant chimp like me can make delicious healthy bread so can you. Aside from the sunk cost in the mill, it’s cheaper than dirt so you’ll save money in the long run. What’s more important is feeling smug and superior whenever you make good food out of something that looks like gravel. It’s priceless.
Go forth and bake bread. Leave the the garbage they sell in the stores for the masses dumb enough to eat crap and pay for the privilege. Enjoy the satisfaction that self reliance can offer and have fun doing it.