I have heard it said before that there is truly no economic incentive for baking bread at home (I’m sure you can say that about a lot of things). It’s just as cheap to purchase a pre-sliced loaf at the store and a hell of a lot easier. While that might be true, I can think of one thing that makes baking bread at home worth it.
Oh my heavens does the aroma of bread baking in the oven is just divine. Seriously. Someone bottle that up and sell it. I’ll be your first customer.
I actually don’t think making bread is all that difficult. It takes time, yes, but it’s just to let the yeast proof and dough rise. Twice. The good folks at The Kitchn really break out the steps pretty nicely.
From start to finish, the whole bread making process took about 4 hours. But only about 30 minutes of that was actual work. I mixed the dough then let is rise in the bowl for about 2 hours. Once it had risen, I punched it down and formed it into log and transferred it to the loaf pan and let it rise again.
Once it had filled up the loaf pan and formed a dome over the top, I scored it down the middle to give it that signature bread shape (and to let the steam out so that the crust wouldn’t crack all haphazardly).
Baking only took about 30 minutes. But man, that was the best smelling 30 minutes of my life.
I let the bread cool for about an hour and I didn’t slice it until the next day. But I am sure you can dig in after about 30 minutes if you what a fresh and warm slice of bread.
Actually, I can think of a second benefit for making bread at home: it taste’s amazing. Sure, that stuff from the store is easy to get and you don’t have to spend 4 hours making it, but homemade bread has so much more flavor too it. Plus you can be assured that it’s fresh and has zero preservatives.