Dining from the Dollar Store: Bread

Making bread is something wonderful: not only is it delicious, but you are able to create something that is natural and filling. Not only that, the bread you make is cheaper than what you can buy in the store.

My staple recipe is borrowed from a must-have book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. While the recipe is basic and very easy to make, it allows many variations.


BREAD

Ingredients:

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast *
11/2 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cups flour (buy two 2-pound bags of flour)
Cooking spray 


Yield:

Four one-pound loaves


Equipment:

Measuring cup/s
Measuring spoons
Container with lid or bowl
Scale
Tea towel (preferably not made of terry cloth as the dough can stick to the nap)
Baking sheet
Mixing spoon
Bread knife
Small oven-proof container or pan
Baking rack

 

Preparation: Making the Dough

Pour the warm water, salt and yeast into the container


Then add the flour

And stir until the ingredients are combined.

Cover the container (the cover does not need to be air-tight)


And let stand until the dough rises to the top of the container. If you are using a bowl, cover it with a tea towel.

Cover the container or bowl and place it in the refrigerator. The dough must be refrigerated for at least three hours before it can be used. The dough can keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.



Preparation: Baking the Bread

Grease the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place an oven-proof pan in the bottom of the oven or on a bottom shelf.

To make a one-pound loaf, measure out some dough and weigh it, then shape it into a ball with your hands and place it on the baking sheet.

Cover the loaf (or loaves) with the tea towel


And let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour or two.

Set the oven for 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sprinkle the loafs with flour

Then score them with a bread knife.

Place the baking sheet with the loaves in the oven then pour a 1/2 cup of water into the oven-proof container in the oven. Bake the loaves for 35 minutes. Let cool before eating.

Bon app├ętit!



Equipment used in the recipe that can be found at the Dollar Store:

Mixing spoon
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Baking or cookie sheet
Cooling racks
Bread knife
Tea or dish towls
Pot holder


 
Variations:

Should you prefer a more traditionally-shaped load, the bread dough can be baked in a greased bread pan.

To flavor the dough, add spices such as ground rosemary, onion powder or chopped onions, garlic or minced garlic, and more.

Consider buying the flour in larger quantities. Up to 10 pound bags can be found at the local grocery store. For those who consider making the bulk of their bread rather than buying their bread from the store, 50 pound bags are available at baking supply stores such as Downeast Food Distributors which cost a little more than the 10 pound bags of flour sold at the grocery store.



I like to use flour that isn't bleached or bromated.

Buying yeast in large quantities is also a good investment, as it can keep for a long time in your refrigerator without spoiling. Each envelope of yeast sold in the store equals one tablespoon. Jars of yeast can be found at the grocery store, while two pound bags of yeast can be found at baking supply stores or at stores like BJ's Wholesale Club. The two pound bags of yeast can be kept in a glass jar with a tightly closing lid.

* According to the man I spoke with at the local Dollar Store, some Dollar Stores carry yeast. The one near me did not.

Dining from the Dollar Store: Fritatta

In these tough economic times, eating well can seem like a challenge. To that end, I thought I would do a series of blogs on creating healthy meals and food from ingredients found at the Dollar Store. For these recipes, I would allow myself three outside ingredients as well as the full range of my personal kitchen equipment (many of which can be bought at the Dollar Store as well). I will also include possible variations, which can include outside ingredients.

The first recipe I chose was a frittata, which is a fried omelet. The beauty of the frittata is that it is possible to create so many variations. Should you have left-overs in the fridge you don't know what to do with, they can go into the frittata.


FRITTATA

Ingredients:

1 carton of eggs
1 carton of milk
1 bottle of garlic powder
1 bottle of onion powder
1 bottle of parsley
1 package of shredded cheddar cheese*
2 tablespoons butter*
2 packages of frozen vegetables (I chose cut leaf spinach and mixed vegetables)


Equipment:

Measuring cup
Whisk
Mixing spoon
Oven-proof pan 
 


Preparation:

Whisk the eggs (I used all eight) with 1/4 cup of milk in a bowl until smooth, then add a garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley to taste and whisk that also. If you don't have a whisk, a fork will work as well.

Open the packages of frozen vegetables. Break off small pieces of spinach and add that to the eggs, and add some of the mixed vegetables as well, then whisk them into the egg mixture. Put the rest of the vegetables in a microwave-safe container and reserve for later.


Turn the oven to broil. 

Turn the burner on the stove to medium, and melt some butter in an oven-safe frying pan.

Pour in the egg mixture into the pan, and stir the eggs until they begin to solidify. You will notice that the eggs will turn a brighter yellow as they begin to cook.



 Once the eggs begin to solidify, quickly sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the egg mixture and put the pan in the oven, setting the timer for five minutes.





While the frittata is cooking, add 1/4 cup of water to the container of frozen vegetables, and put them in the microwave for 2 minutes. When the microwave stops, remove the container of vegetables from the microwave, drain the vegetables in a colander, and return the vegetables to the container. Add garlic powder, onion powder and parsley to the vegetables, as well as some butter, and stir, then cook in the microwave for another minute. 

Remove the frittata from the oven and let rest for five minutes or less, then serve with the vegetables.


For $7.00 plus the cost of the shredded cheese and butter, this meal can serve a family of four with some leftovers for another meal. Best yet, the spices and butter can be used for other meals.



Equipment used in the recipe that can be found at the Dollar Store:


Measuring spoons
Measuring cups
Colander
Mixing spoons


Variations:

You can add fresh vegetables to the frittata as well. Chopped garlic, onions, potatoes, beans, carrots, peas, and other vegetables cooked in butter until tender, then mixed with the egg mixture can create a lovely meal no matter the season. Vegetables don't have to be the only additions to a frittata. Try adding sausage, smoked salmon, and more.

If you are interested in shopping locally for fresh food and don't have a garden or chickens, consider buying eggs from a local farmer and buying your vegetables from farmers markets.


*The cheese and butter were not purchased at the Dollar Store.

Disclaimer: The "Dollar Store" is the generic name I chose for stores where everything is a dollar.

Note: The date stamp is inaccurate.