The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 19, 2014

Amanda Stone: Finding clean-eating bread tough but possible

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Bread has become such taboo. What a shame. Carbohydrates are not bad and neither is bread. However, bread that falls under the rules of clean eating is hard to come by.

Bread is filling and convenient, but with that comes good news and bad news. The good news is whole-grain bread can be delicious, but the bad news is you have to make it. But there is a third option: You can buy clean bread from a trusted source or a health food store, but you'll pay the price. Once you get over the hurdle of establishing a bread-baking pattern, you'll gladly pencil baking time into your schedule.

In my food world, there is nothing better than warm, homemade bread with butter. When I started inspecting bread labels, I stopped buying packaged sandwich bread. Even if it's whole grain, it usually includes other junk that I don't want in my family's daily diet. We slowly stopped eating bread, and that's sad. So, I started making it, and it turned out to not be that big of a deal. It's a compromise that makes sense.

We tend to savor things a bit more when we have to put forth some effort. Butter isn't hard to make when you're just making a smidge. Buy a gallon of fresh milk from a dairy and pour it into a pitcher. Let the cream rise to the top and skim it off into a jar, or buy good cream from the store. Shake the jar until the cream sticks together. This is a great project for kids. Keep shaking it until you have a clump of butter; the remaining liquid is buttermilk, so save it for whole-grain pancakes or biscuits. Knead the butter under cold running water to work out any remaining buttermilk. I like to knead in a little salt as well. The result will be fresh butter for your warm bread. Your hard work will pay off, I promise.

The toughest part of baking bread is following the recipe. Baking is a science; someone has worked hard perfecting that bread recipe, and you need to follow it. I've learned this the hard way, so take it from me: Do not tweak a bread recipe. Make up your own recipe on your own time, but don't mess with perfection. Even if your whole-grain bread turns into a brick, you can always make bread crumbs. Just pop them into the freezer for later use.

Try these whole-grain bread recipes as a start to regular bread baking.

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