Baking at home is more than just a hobby, it can become a way of life. Our ancestors didn't always have the option of going down to the local store to get their bread and cakes. In many cases, especially during America's early years, it was up to each individual family to take care of their own dietary needs. Of course, times have changed in many respects. Nowadays, we can find staples like bread almost anywhere. That being said, there are still some distinct advantages to baking at home. And, as with any worthwhile pursuit, there are a few potential disadvantages to take into consideration before answering the call to be a home baker.
Let's look at a few advantages of home baking first. One of the biggest advantages has to do with the ease and convenience. On a rainy day, or on a holiday when all of the stores are closed, it can be difficult to get the food that you need (or maybe just the food that you are craving). A great solution lies in home baking. The ingredients are so easy to come by, and recipes are so reliable that it's a case of baking made easy. Within a short time, you can have exactly the food you were looking for (sometimes it even tastes better) and you didn't even have to leave the house or hope that the store hadn't sold out.
Another advantage is the cost. In these times of economic pressure, most families are looking for way to save a little money. Making a loaf of bread (or three) at home can carry a cost of about .50 per loaf. At a time when even a basic loaf of bread costs a minimum of to , this can represent a weekly savings of at least in bread alone, not counting muffins, cakes, and cookies. Yearly, an average family could save over 0 buy baking bread at home- no small amount of money when the prices of fuel and health care go up every day.
Finally, baking at home give the baker more control over what they eat. For example, have a look at one of your favorite breads from the local supermarket. You might be surprised to see that some have over 20 ingredients, some of which you can't even pronounce. Preservatives and coloring are added to make the bread more appealing and profitable, but the question is: do you really want yourself and your family eating all of those unnecessary additives? Baking at home allows us to know exactly what we are eating and where it came from. We can be sure of the hygiene and we have no doubts about the expiration date. What's more, we can customize the recipe to make it more interesting, or we can cut out ingredients that we may be allergic to. For example, those on a gluten-free diet can easily substitute the wheat flour for rice flour, or a diabetic baker can alter the sweeteners called for in the recipe.
Are there any disadvantages to baking at home? Well, there certainly are a few things that should be taken into consideration before embarking on this new way of life. For example, baking at home takes more time that simply buying the product at the store. A typical bread recipe may take up to three hours from start to finish. Granted, only about 20 minutes of that will be measuring, mixing, pouring, and checking - but the fact remains that you should be prepared to set aside an entire afternoon for most baking projects. Also, don't forget about the clean up afterwards!
Another possible disadvantage has to do with the initial investment in the equipment necessary for baking. Let's have a look at some average prices for each one. For example, a set of measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients can cost about . A glass container for measuring liquid ingredients will run you about . A set of wooden utensils will be about , and a spatula set will be about . A bowl set can be about , and a handy electric mixer costs about . As far as pans go, you will need at least a cookie sheet (), a 9x13 baking dish () and a 9x5 loaf pan (). Of course, it goes without saying that you must have a working oven. Ingredients aside, a new baker can look forward to spending at least 0 just to get started. This will have a significant impact on any expected savings from baking at home.
Finally, there is always the risk that a novice baker will have trouble with a recipe. All of the time and ingredients will be wasted. It can be a frustrating experience, but also an educational one.
Baking at home is, without a doubt, an absolutely wonderful pastime. It saves money and helps your family to eat healthier. However, there are some potential disadvantages that should be carefully weighed before spending a dime. After considering all of the factors, you may well decide that home baking is right for you!