This is a post about bread, and unit costing.
You enjoy mass produced bread less once you see it being made on TV. It’s more like a piped wheat foam that is baked, then sliced. You’ll never compete with an industrial process on price or volume. But when you make your own bread, you are competing with more expensive, labour intensive “artisan” loaves, typically made by hand.
For example – buying rye sourdough in a bakers is $5. Buying the ingredients costs $1 per loaf, and the electricity costs me 5c. It takes me about 15 minutes to make and cleanup. The loaf isn’t as good, but it’s about 50% bigger than the bakers. So that’s a decrease in the price, and an increase in size, which seems to be the opposite of every other trend in food and drink.
Making your own is surprisingly easy and cheap, but requires you to lock down a few variables in your kitchen, that won’t be in recipes. Hopefully the notes cover it. If you make mistakes, eat them, and learn for the next time.
Probably couldn’t go too far wrong with the Irish food board recipe to start, Celia.
Weigh the ingredients, don’t go by volume.
Sieve both flours a bit above the mixing bowl to get more air in. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 in fag notation) – the raising action comes from the acid-base reaction with the buttermilk. It’s not “baking powder”, if that’s on your American shelf. Don’t go overboard on the bread soda, it can give a metallic taste.
Make sure your oven temperature is reliable, use a thermometer if necessary.
It will be moist on the inside when it’s done. Stick a skewer in, and if it comes out clean, the bread is cooked.
Wrap it in a clean cotton dishcloth/teatowel once it’s cooked, and let the moisture steam through the crust on a wire tray.
Buy Irish for your butter, or whatever grassfed butter you can get your hands on.
This is a different one, but worth looking at for American brands it lists:
I’d never say there’s a fixed recipe, it’s a very robust bread that can take anything. Once you’ve made it a few times successfully, it’d be great to hear what you come up with.