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fucked up how cooking and baking from scratch is viewed as a luxury…..like baking a loaf of bread or whatever is seen as something that only people with money/time can do. I’m not sure why capitalism decided to sell us the idea that we can’t make our own damn food bc it’s a special expensive thing that’s exclusive to wealthy retirees but it’s stupid as hell and it makes me angry

bread takes like max 4 ingredients counting water and sure it takes a couple hours but 80% of that is just waiting around while it does the thing and you can do other things while it’s rising/baking

plus im not gonna say baking cured my depression bc it didn’t but man is it hard to feel down when you’re eating slices of fresh bread you just made yourself. feels like everything’s gonna be a little more ok than you thought. it’s good.

bread is amazing and it’s also been sold to us as something really hard to make? Every time I tell someone I made a loaf of bread I get reactions like “you made it yourself???” and “do you have a bread machine then?”
I haven’t touched a bread machine in probably 10 years.
You CAN make your own bread, folks, and it’s actually pretty cheap to do so. I believe the most expensive thing I needed for it was the jar of yeast. It was about $6 at the grocery store and lasted me MONTHS (just keep it in the fridge.) The packets are even cheaper.
destroy capitalism. bake your own bread.

You can also make your own yeast by making a sourdough starter, so that cuts cost even more.

But you have to feed the starter daily/weekly and that means it grows quickly, but there are tons of recipes online for what to do with your excess starter. Cookies, pretzels, crackers, pancakes, waffles, you name it!!

Here’s a link to The Home Baking Association’s site. It has recipes and tips.

Make it even easier – “No-Knead Bread”. All YOU do is mix the ingredients together and wait until it’s time to heat the oven. The yeast does all the rest.

Here’s @dduane​’s first take on it and the finished product. We’ve made even more photogenic batches since.

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Kneading is easy as well; either let your machine do it, or if you don’t want to or don’t have one, get hands-on. It’s like mixing two colours of Plasticine to make a third. Flatten, stretch, fold, half-turn, repeat – it takes about 10 minutes – until the gloopy conglomeration of flour, yeast, salt and water that clings to your hands at the beginning, becomes a compact ball that doesn’t stick to things and feels silky-smooth.

Here’s what before and after look like.

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My Mum used to say that if you were feeling out of sorts with someone, it was good to
make bread because you could transfer your annoyance into kneading the
dough REALLY WELL, and both you and the bread would be better for it.

Then you put it into a bowl, cover it with cling-film and let it rise until it doubles in size, turn it out and “knock it back” (more kneading, until it’s getting back to the size it started, this means there won’t be huge “is something living in here?” holes in the bread), put it into your loaf-tin or whatever – we’ve used a regular oblong tin, a rectangular Pullman tin with a lid, a small glass casserole, an earthenware chicken roaster…

You can even use a clean terracotta flowerpot.

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Let the dough rise again until it’s high enough to look like an unbaked but otherwise real loaf, then pop it in the preheated oven. On average we give ours 180°C / 355°F for 45-50 minutes. YM (and oven) MV.

Here’s some of our bread…

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Here’s our default bread recipe – it takes about 3-4 hours from flour jar to cutting board depending on climate (warmer is faster) most of which is rise time and baking; hands-on mixing, kneading and knocking-back is about 20 minutes, tops, and less if using a mixer.

Here ( or indeed any of the other pics) is the finished product. This one was given an egg-wash to make it look glossy and keep the poppy-seeds in place; mostly we don’t bother with that or the slash down the middle, but all the extras were intentional as a “ready for my close-up” glamour shot.

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I think any shop would be happy to have something this good-looking on their shelf.

We’re happy to have it on our table.

Even if your first attempts don’t work out quite as well as you hope, you can always make something like this

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can we have more posts like this in future please? this is really useful and could help those who are struggling

My class of 18-36 month old children bake bread independently every morning. It’s not rocket science!

also the rise (haha) in store bought bread is considered to be part of why coeliac disease and wheat intolerance is so on the increase.  Traditionally bread would be left to rise overnight when the ovens were turned down. That allowed the gluten to almost entirely break down by the time it was actually baked often 10-12 hours later.

But supermarket bread?? it gets about 15 minutes to rise. 15 paltry minutes.  Because it needs to be forced to rise so fast, the yeast is fed with an outrageous amount of sugar and the gluten never gets the time to break down and so there’s a higher quantity in the bread. so there’s more gluten AND a ridiculous amount of sugar.

Little reminder that the “supermarket bread” thing here appears to be a US or North American thing.

Most supermarket white bread sliced pans here in Ireland and in the UK have no added sugar, and presumably are left to rise normally.

I need to pull you guys up hear – for a lot of people it isn’t that making your own bread or cooking from scratch is “viewed” as a luxury” it’s because regularly doing so IS a luxury.

Cooking and baking from scratch requires – access to fresh ingredients; time; space.

Yes I know there are some people who manage to do so in tiny kitchens and some people fit in cooking around a hectic schedule (but these people usually enjoy the process so are getting downtime from it as well as actual food).

If you are working long shifts, multiple jobs, studying and working, working and doing child care, working and a carer for an adult you simply don’t have time to bake and cook from scratch regularly. Or you might but you would have no time for anything else like sitting and resting, or enjoying a hobby or activity. If it is something you only get the time to do occasionally then it becomes a luxury.

If you have a disability you may not be physically able to cook from scratch regularly – this is often wrapped up in “time” because it relates to having the time to cook when you are physically capable of doing so. Chronic health conditions or disabilities that limit your ability to do an activity essentially act as a time suck that take time away from you being able to do something. The time and ability to cook becomes a luxury.

Access to fresh or basic ingredients is a difficult one. This is often a balance of time and money. Ingredients that you have easy access to from your local grocery store may be limited. Some base ingredients can be affordable, but others may not be. The alternative is going to stores further away or multiple stores to pick up the ingredients you need. This takes time to do, (there is also the added fuel or public transport costs). This issue can be compounded by health limitations that mean travelling further to go to the shop that sells the thing or going to the big busy market is simply not possible. For people who are limited by resources, budget, time or location access to suitable ingredients is a luxury.

Then there is access to the things you need to cook. You may be able to find some items cheaply in charity shops but it’s a bit hit and miss and you need the time to be able to wait around for those items to appear or to visit a number of shops to see if they have them in. Or you need to be able to buy brand new. Again it’s a balance of time and money to make everything from pans to spatulas to mixing bowls available (and I’m not even considering electrical items or actual stoves here). Access to that equipment can be a luxury.

Poor people who live in small homes may have tiny kitchens which they struggle to actually cook in. They may not have space to store a full set of pans or other items, they may not have a stove or working oven. They may only have a tiny fridge and no freezer if at all. Additionally if you are in a house share situation or even if you have a family in a small home you can’t take up a lot of time and space using kitchen facilities because other people need that space too. having regular, adequate space and facilities to cook from scratch is a luxury.

Yes, there are people who manage to cook great things from scratch on a tiny budget or in small kitchens and so on but usually these are people who have other privileges i.e. the person on a tiny budget may work from home and have the flexible time to put the effort in. Additionally these are usually people who get enjoyment out of cooking from scratch. There is an additional benefit to the effort needed i.e. it’s not just about sustenance it’s also about quality time spent. That’s a big motivating factor. We can’t chastise people who don’t get that pleasure and for whom cooking is a chore if they want to spend less time doing and maybe more time doing something they like like reading a book, watching TV or just snoozing. 

We certainly shouldn’t chastise people who are already extremely limited on time to not want to spend all their free time, space or money on cooking.

The reality is that in a lot of modern hyper capitalist societies like the USA and the UK, cooking from scratch is a luxury for a lot of people. 

It shouldn’t be, but it is.

Chastising people and trying to jolly them along with “helpful” advice about this great bread recipe you have doesn’t help. It doesn’t actually solve any of the factors that is making it a luxury.

All it ends up doing is shaming people who are not able to cook from scratch due to their circumstances. It can also have the effect of trying to make people feel guilty for not trying enough. It essentially says “if you wanted to you could do this. If you wanted to you could spend literally all your “free” time, money and effort cooking, but you don’t want to. you just aren’t trying hard enough.” and let me tell you that is toxic. That is the sort of toxic rhetoric that is spouted at poor and disabled folk all the time.

It’s similar to the people who look at people like Jack of cooking on a budget fame and say “why are the poor people complaining, if they just tried hard enough they could eat fine. If they wanted to they’d have plenty of money for food.”. While completely missing the message that cook books on “how to stretch £5 to feed two people for a week” shouldn’t even have to exist. 

In our society cooking from scratch is for a lot of people a luxury. 

It is not viewed as a luxury.

The issue is not people being stupid, or not trying enough. 

The answer is not to be smug about your bread or to make blog articles about “5 hacks to making soup”. 

The answer is to challenge a society and social structure that has made the very basics of living – preparing food to eat – into a luxury activity.  We should be asking why people have to work so many hours each day that putting a ready meal in the microwave is preferable (or the only option) instead of cooking. We should be asking why market forces have made it so that some basic ingredients cost more than pre-prepared ingredients, why these aren’t widely available and why companies are allowed to charge premium prices for limited stock. 

We should be looking at why housing is an ongoing issue, why people are forced into tiny houses, house shares (not happy communes) and sub par housing that doesn’t have proper cooking facilities. We should be asking why private rents have sky rocketed while social housing has been more than decimated and why there are tax breaks to housing developers that push up the cost of buying or renting but not to those who wish to renovate existing housing stock to make it suitable accommodation.

We should be asking we social care and support for disabled people and their carers is so poor that many disabled people end up with malnourishment because they simply can’t afford food, the facilities to cook it or have the support they need in order to feed themselves. 

this is not a case of “ho ho, if only those plebs knew how to make this simple loaf!”. This is a case of “why the hell do we continue to support an economic system that makes cooking from scratch a luxury?”

This reminds me of that old triangle in business: quick, cheap, good – choose two. I.e. if you want quick and good, it won’t be cheap, if you want quick and cheap, it won’t be good, and if you want cheap and good, you’ll have to wait a while.

Only with food, the three points of the triangle are quick/easy, cheap, and nutritionally good.

If you want to have food that’s quick and cheap, its nutritional value is going to be appalling.

If you want to have food that’s quick and healthy, you can buy prepared vegetables, and smoothie mixes, and even microwave meals that are full of fresh vegetables. But all that costs a lot of money.

If you want to have food that’s cheap and healthy, you can grow your own vegetables, and bake stuff from scratch, etc. But that takes a huge amount of time and effort.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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