Over the years I have learned a few things about grocery shopping to make it easier.
First, go in with a list. I understand that this will take some pre-planning and that can take time, but it will be worth it.
Going to the grocery store with a list will ensure you do not forget key ingredients and will better prepare you to cook a complete meal verses whatever is in the cupboard.
Second, do not go into the grocery store hungry. I have done this before and it always ends up being a bad idea. I always end up buying extra food or junk food that I do not need.
Last but not least, do not go to the grocery store the day students move back into the dorms. Students have just gotten back from a three-week break and are all at the store stocking up on food and before you know it the grocery store is out of stock until morning.
This was the scenario that I encountered last week when I went grocery shopping. I had managed to successfully venture through the produce section and was headed to pick up some bread for lunch when five people with dismayed looks greeted me as they gazed upon the empty shelves. Yes, the grocery store was out of bread.
At first I was a little shocked and immediately began to think about what I could have for lunch that week instead of sandwiches, but then it hit me; the store may not have bread, but that does not mean you can’t make bread.
Back on track with my list and thoughts I immediately turned the corner, picked up some whole-wheat flour, and was ready to make sandwich bread for that week.
I know what you must be thinking, making bread by hand or without a bread machine is so time consuming and difficult. The truth is that it isn’t; making bread takes time due to the rising process, but it is not hard at all.
Plus, homemade bread taste so much fresher than anything purchased at the store. Most recipes use only a few ingredients that can be found in almost any kitchen. I used the following recipe:
Whole Wheat Bread
1 ½ cups Warm Water
1 package Dry Yeast (about 1 Tbsp)
¼ cup Honey
3 ½ + cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1). Combine water, yeast and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let set for about 20 minutes or until the liquid starts to bubble and yeast is dissolved.
2). Preheat oven to 200 degrees. (This will help with the proofing/rising process later)
3). Combine flour and salt together. Once yeast mixture is ready, slowly combine flour into the yeast liquid while mixer is on. If you have a stand mixer make sure to use the dough hook attachment.
If you do not have a stand mixer, flour your hands and begin to combine the liquid with the flour. Make sure all liquid is absorbed and dough is not too sticky. Begin to knead on floured surface until dough becomes elastic/stretchy.
4). Turn off oven. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Cover and placed in warm oven. Leave the oven door propped open. You want the dough to be in a warm place to rise without starting to cook. Check on the dough after about twenty minutes. If it is raised move on to step 5. If not let it rise a bit more.
5). Punch down dough and shape into a loaf. Place in a lightly greased bread pan. Cover and return to warm oven to rise for another twenty minutes.
6). After dough has risen a second time it is ready to bake. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Next time you find yourself at the grocery store and they are out of bread, don’t worry. Just grab some flour and get those hands dirty in making your own.