Homemade bread that's cheap and easy

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By Mary Alice Holt


With the economy the way it is, I thought it might be helpful to feature recipes that “stretch the dollar” a little bit from time to time. Everyone I know is feeling the pinch right now, and several folks have asked me if I have any “cheap” recipes. I never thought of recipes in that way in the past, but I have to admit, I’m beginning to think of them that way now.

The first thing that comes to mind is bread. While this isn’t the most expensive item on your grocery list, it’s probably something you use a lot. Homemade bread is not only cheaper than store bought, it tastes 100 percent better. There’s just no comparison. (Sorry, Pepperidge Farm. You sometimes come close.)

A meal of homemade soup and a sandwich on homemade bread is delicious and inexpensive. A meal of a sandwich (egg salad, peanut butter) and a simple salad is also delicious and inexpensive.

This sourdough bread recipe is my favorite bread recipe, probably because it always works for me. The recipe is from Mona Rogers and her sister, Jan Cooke. I first ran this recipe in 1998 when Mona was a customer service representative at The News-Enterprise. The recipe itself isn’t much different from other recipes using a starter, but somehow the flavor is a little better and I love the texture. 

If you've been afraid to try making homemade bread, this is a great one to begin on. It takes several days to complete, but it is truly very easy. It’s a hurry-up-and-wait sort of recipe. You make the starter; leave it out on the counter a couple of days; feed it; leave it out eight to 12 hours; put together the bread ingredients; leave the mixture out; put the dough in bread pans, leave them out; and finally bake the bread. 

The bread is wonderful.

By my calculations, you could easily make six loaves of Mona’s Sourdough Bread for under $3; compare that with the price you usually pay for a loaf of bread. And as I said before, there’s no way to compare the taste. This bread is great.

Mary Alice Holt can be reached at (270) 505-1751, or at maholt@thenewsenterprise.com.  

Mona’s Sourdough Bread Starter: 1 package yeast ½ cup warm water ¾ cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons instant potatoes 1 cup warm water Feeding: ¾ cup sugar 3 tablespoons instant potatoes 1 cup water Bread: 6 cups bread flour ½ cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup starter (recipe is above) ½ cup oil 1½ cups warm water 1 tablespoon oil Step 1: Make the starter. Mix one package yeast in ½ cup warm water. Mix 1 cup warm water, ¾ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons instant potatoes. Add yeast mixture to these ingredients. Loosely cover the mixture and let it stand out on the counter for two days. Step 2: On the third day, feed the starter, adding the following: ¾ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons instant potatoes and 1 cup water. Leave the mixture out on the counter for 8 to 10 hours. Step 3: After leaving the mixture on the counter for 8 to 10 hours, make the dough. To 1 cup of the starter, add 6 cups bread flour, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup oil and 1½ cups warm water; put it in a large bowl; add 1 tablespoon of oil around the dough in the bowl, then turn the dough so it is coated with the oil. Leave it out on the counter for 8 to 12 hours to rise. You can put the starter you don’t use into the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days and then feed it again, or you can do as I do and double the recipe (making 6 loaves of bread at a time), throwing away the remaining starter; then I make the starter again when I’m ready to bake bread again. Step 4: Punch down the dough and divide it into three loaves. Knead each part (briefly) on a floured board. Put in greased loaf pans. Brush with butter. Cover the pans with dish towels and leave out on the counter for 8 to 12 hours. Step 5: Finally, you get to bake the bread. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with butter. Store in refrigerator or freezer. The one drawback to this bread is that it doesn’t keep very long since there are no preservatives in it. I make six loaves at a time, start on one immediately and freeze the other five.


Send your recipe to: Best Recipe, The News-Enterprise, 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701; or e-mail it to maholt@thenewsenterprise.com; or fax it to Mary Alice Holt at 769-6965. Include your name, address and phone number and tell something about the history of the recipe. If possible, include a photo of yourself.