So due to a quickly swelling belly, I have been unable to work since about 32 weeks. While most people give me the cliche “We should all be so lucky,” or “Enjoy it while you can.” The reality is that I have been working since I was 15 years old, and adjusting to just being home is definitely something that I have and continue to struggle with. In an attempt to feel better about this I have tried to come up with ways to “work” around the house. One of these ways, is that I have started making some of our kitchen staples. Namely bread, yogurt and dessert, which has saved us from having to buy them.
This has been great, as not only does our house smell amazing from all the baked goods, but I have estimated our monthly savings on our grocery bill at about $75 a month. Not bad considering my decrease in income has also required some penny pinching.
While my dessert choices have varied wildly from italian cream cake to brownies to cheesecake to pumpkin blondies, I have found two recipes for bread and yogurt which I stick to very closely. They are both easy to follow, and short of requiring some attention to detail, and time, some of the easiest and most consistent recipes I have found.
The bread recipe I originally saw while watching Americas Test Kitchen. It is literally called Easy Sandwhich Bread because that’s what it is. Unfortunately, I do not have a subscription to their site and all of their yummy recipes. Fortunately, that is where the blog Playing with Flour comes in. Monica does a great job of breaking down this particular recipe and her blog is loaded with tons of other yummy ones as well. I highly recommend it. In addition, for those of you who think you might not have the time or skills for making homemade bread? This recipe is for you! It is super easy with minimal ingredients, two simple raises and can be completed in about 90 minutes. I’m a lazy raiser (I tend to let my bread just go and have been known to walk away and forget it) and I still end up with perfect bread every time.
The yogurt recipe took a little more finesse. While it is still very easy, it takes a long time for the yogurt to set properly and there are a lot of variables that you have to keep an eye on such as clean tools and temperature. I was originally using this recipe. It was a great starting place, but I ended up having issues with texture. After consulting a few other recipes I made my own adjustments, getting a new yogurt starter. Just a cup of plain yogurt from TJ’s and changing up the setting time. I find that I get a much better consistency if I let it set for closer to 12-15 hours. Don’t let the time it takes dissuade you from trying this though, as most of the time is literally spent just sitting and occasionally checking the temperature. Homemade yogurt is super delicious, and allows you the freedom of creating your own yogurt recipes and concoctions, which make breakfast just a little more exciting!
I would love to hear from any of you about your favorite baking staples as well in the comments below. Links to recipes are especially welcome! 🙂