Simple bread, deceptively easy-to-make, is also inexpensive and delicious to boot!
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
The staff of life doesn’t to be expensive or complicated to be good. Simple Bread is highly nutritious, good tasting, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. Furthermore, one helping can provide 30 to 40 percent of your daily protein requirements (as well as hearty helpings of other nutrients) for about 18¢ — and cooking it demands an average of only 15 minutes of labor per day!
All you need to make a batch are 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of soy flour, 1/4 cup of brewer's yeast, 2/3 teaspoon of salt, and 1 1/3 cups of water. (As you can see, there's nothing fancy about Simple Bread!)
More For Your Money!
Before we start cooking, let me explain just why this basic manna is so nutritious. The total amount of complete protein in the recipe's whole wheat and soy flours adds up to 28 grams. However — as you may already be aware — when whole wheat and soy are combined in four-to-one proportions, the result is a 32 percent increase in the amount of complete protein available. Therefore, a batch of Simple Bread actually contains 37 grams of the vital nutrient.
But that's not all. The 1/4 cup of brewer's yeast adds another 8 grams (as well as some B vitamins), for a final total of 45 grams of protein. So, since the recipe yields a three-day supply of bread for one person — or a one-day cache for three eaters — a single batch can provide about 15 grams of complete protein per person per day. (The protein requirement for a 154-pound man is 43 grams daily, and that of a 128-pound woman is 36 grams per day.)
The cost of the ingredients (when purchased in one-pound units from a rather expensive health food store) breaks down as follows: 2 cups of whole wheat flour at 48¢ per pound is 24¢, 1/2 cup of soy flour at 56¢ per pound is 7¢, and 1/4 cup of brewer's yeast at $3.85 per pound is 24¢ — which adds up to a total cost of about 55¢ for three days' worth of bread!
(And, if you can buy the ingredients in bulk and grind the grain yourself, you can probably bring down the cost by as much as half.)
A Child Can Make It!
To begin making your batch of Simple Bread, combine the dry ingredients, add the water, and work the batter around until the moisture is absorbed. (A large wooden spoon is useful for this task.) Then put the ball of dough on a floured table and knead it for a few minutes until it becomes springy to the touch. Pull off a piece of dough a little larger than a golf ball and roll it out into a seven- to eight-inch tortilla. (You should wind up with about 12 such flatcakes when you're done.) And, as you finish rolling each piece, place it on a dry, hot griddle.
If your cooking surface is the right temperature, the dough will form small bubbles on its surface after about a minute. In approximately two minutes, the underside will be brown in spots, and the bread will be ready to be flipped. Then, when the other side is also brown (lift the edge to check), remove the finished bread with a spatula. (You can vary both the water content and cooking time to give your "loaves" the flexibility or crispness that best suits your taste.) Once you become adept at this cooking method, a three-day bread supply for one person (which should be stored in an airtight container) can be produced in about 45 minutes.
It's true that Simple Bread may take a little getting used to, but — after eating it for some time — I actually find it preferable to the conventional loaves. And don't let yourself get trapped into thinking that flatbread is good only with Mexican food. It can be consumed in almost every way that you eat conventional slices (with the possible exception of French toast).
And I always think — as I tear into this economical, highly nutritious, easy-to-prepare staff of life — that Simple Bread is simply marvelous!