Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday - the benefits of fast scratch cooking,

Trying a new refrigerator bread dough.   It is my mission at the point in time to take down the cost of bread.  

Many things can lower your food bill.   Cooking from scratch is one of the best ways.  It helps in two ways, most of the time it is less expensive and it always has less preservatives and things you can't pronounce.

The trick is to make scratch food quick.   Most of us don't have the time to spend all day on the kitchen.  This is especially true of the working  poor.    Managing your time is important.  It is more beneficial to spend time planning meals and planning a shopping trip than it is cooking from scratch,   Planning saves a lot of money and makes it possible to feed your family better dinners for what you can afford to pay.  The added bonus is that your children learn to cook and learn that food doesn't  come out of a box or frozen food bag.  

I found Foster Farms chicken patties in the freezer section,   Its one of the premade things I do buy,  often I can find coupons or sales and coupons.   Everyone should have a backup meal for those day when life hands you a sh!t storm.   We have all had them.  Add a hamburger bin, so,e fries and a salad or veggie and dinner is easy peasy. On sale with coupons, they can be as cheap as a deBoned chicken breast.

I digress.   My mission lately has been finding ways to make bread that didn't take all day and was easy and foolproof.

The difference is that a loaf of artisan bread is upwards of three dollars.   The cost....wait for it...less than thirty cents.

Refrigerator bread dough takes a matter of maybe five minutes to put together.   It can sit in the counter while you do other things.   Then you put it in the refrigerator.    Take it out when you are going to make a loaf.  Pull off a part of the dough and shape it.....another few minutes.   Let rise....another two minute step and more passive time.   Then put it in the oven and bake for a half hour or so.    Total non passive time maybe ten minutes.    You can shape it before making dinner. Throw it in the oven after dinner when you are doing the dishes and have it ready by the time the dishes are done and the kitchen is cleaned up.  

 The taste in remarkable and it couldn't be more easy.  One rise is a no brainier.  The dough is on a large plastic with a loose fitting lid .  I literally stirred  the ingredients, set the lid on the bowl and left to go do my shopping,    When I got back, I put  it in the fridge.  This morning , I'll pull  a hunk of it and let it warm and do it's second rise while I prep dinner and put it in the oven to bake.   I can do my zone  cleaning while it bakes.  

I have perfected a thin pizza crust that takes minutes to make.   It too is less than a quarter - like .17 when you buy flour  in bulk or buy it around Thanksgiving  time.  The  other time that baking items might be on sale is Easter.  

Hogie rolls are a bit more time consuming as well as sandwich bread,   They are also a bit more expensive because they have sugar and egg in them.

The difference between buying a loaf of sourdough bread and making one can be enough money to make a entire meal.   Some of that work could be done by a child that is a preteen.   It's always good
to teach children to wash their hands while cooking and not eat raw dough.   I don't let my preschool granddaughter do anything with raw meat, sharp or hot.  But that leaves a lot she can do and she
loves it.

Involving children in cooking a) keeps them busy and under supervision while you are cooking and b) teaches them where food comes from and how to cook.  Even small children can help count things as you out them in a bowl,   They can butter bread, or roll pizza dough,.  Home Ec used to be a mandatory class in junior high,   Now, a whole generation of children don't have a clue how to cook.   It's a necessary survival tool for both girls and boys.

Fast scratch cooking can save money and open up time to plan meals and shopping trips to save a lot
of money,    The time you save not  slaving  over a hot stove can be time watching your favorite show and clipping   coupons to  save more money.   

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