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4 Beginner Bread Recipes (plus thoughts on bulk beef and chest freezers)

Every other Monday (or so!), I answer reader questions.   Got one for me? Send me an email with Q&A in the subject line, and I’ll answer it in a future post.

I have recently found your blog and feel inspired by your bread making! I have used my bread maker for nearly 12 years and it is wearing out!! For obvious frugal reasons I don’t want to purchase a new one AND I do have a Kitchenaid.

My questions are: which would be the simplest bread for me to start with and why don’t you use your kitchenaid for kneading the bread? Or have I missed something?


So glad to hear that my blog is inspiring you!

homemade french bread

First, if you try making bread without a machine and you end up hating it, do check thrift stores near you.   I see bread machines there all the time, so you might be able to replace yours on the cheap.   Craigslist is probably another good place to find an inexpensive used one.

Secondly, I do use my Kitchen-Aid to start my bread dough.   After a good mixing, there’s not a ton of kneading left to do.   I could use the dough hook in the Kitchen-Aid to do the kneading, but I prefer to do it by hand.

Why? I feel like I have better control of how much flour I’m adding when I knead by hand.   Also, I frequently am making a pretty large batch of dough, and it’s tough to keep the dough from climbing up the dough hook when I’ve got a lot of dough in the bowl.

But if you try kneading in the Kitchen-Aid and you totally love it, I say go for it!   No one is handing out gold stars to people who knead by hand, after all.

Thirdly, here are some recipes I’d recommend for starting out.

English Muffin Bread

This is a batter bread, which is made with a really soft dough that is simply mixed in the mixer…no kneading required.   Super-duper easy!

baked no knead English muffin bread

French Bread

Lots and lots of beginning bread bakers have used this recipe with success, so I feel confident in recommending this one to you.

3 ingredient homemade french bread

Honey-Glazed Rolls

These are super soft and fluffy, and so delicious, I’d rather eat one than a donut!   My fluffy hamburger bun recipe is very similar.

glazed honey pan rolls

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This is our breakfast toast/lunch sandwich mainstay.   It’s not 100% whole wheat, which makes it a little fluffier and more fool-proof than 100% whole wheat recipes.

homemade whole wheat sandwich bread

Is buying beef in bulk worth it?

I am on the fence. I can get 1/4 organic grassfed cow at about $6/lb. that sounds like a fantastic bargain BUT I would need to purchase another freezer. I have an under drawer in the main fridge, the upper in a “beer fridge” and a smallish square chest freezer. These are always full of extra meat, stock and bones/veggies for stock. My main is full of the usual daily needs type items.

We eat beef maybe 2-4 times per month. Is it going to go bad on us? We are a family of 4 where kids are 6-girl eats like horse; 3-boy only wants candy, fruit or yogurt!

I am considering an additional stand up freezer with shelves because I am putting in so much fruit to grow in the yard. But it will be 2-4 years before its fully established and making it a good idea to freeze for winter.

Do I need all that meat? Is it worth also buying a freezer? Can I commit to always buying my meat this way? What about the other meats? We eat tons of chicken and fish.


Whether or not it’s worth it for your family depends on a lot of factors.

Regarding the freezer: I would be inclined to get a chest freezer rather than a stand-up freezer.   A non-self-defrosting chest freezer will keep your food fresh and not freezer burnt (the self-defrosting cycle contributes to freezer burn.)   I’ve stored my beef in my chest freezer for over a year and it’s still tasted fresh!

freezer challenge

If you bought a decently-sized chest freezer, could you maybe get rid of your smaller chest freezer, thus consolidating a bit?

I personally adore having a chest freezer because it allows me to store my bulk beef and also seasonal food (like all the applesauce I make in the fall, or the berries I freezer in the summer).   I’m not sure I’d buy one JUST for beef purposes, but since it sounds like you’d also use it for other purposes, it might be worth it for you.

beef and sausage chili

If you only eat beef 2-4 times per month, a quarter of a cow will probably last quite some time for you, but if you have a chest freezer, that shouldn’t pose an issue.

Since I started buying bulk beef, we end up eating a little more beef and a little less chicken, just because the beef is available.   You might find yourself subtly shifting in that direction once you have a freezer full of beef too, so you may go through it faster than you think.


Readers, what are your thoughts on the beef/freezer issue?   What would you do?

And what bread recipes would you recommend for Jo?

The floor is yours.

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Thursday 15th of October 2015

I would really love your 3 loaf ww bread recipe if you have time.



Tuesday 9th of June 2015

I own an upright freezer and store stuff in my mom's large chest freezer and if I had the space, I would go with a chest freezer. You can use baskets, old pillowcases, even boxes to organize food in a chest freezer and it seems like the same size chest freezer holds more than an upright due to the shelves in the upright. If memory serves, a chest freezer will stay cold longer in a power outage and occassionally the door will be left open more easily on an upright. I have to defrost my upright at least twice a year but my mom's chest freezer only requires a once a year defrosting. It is still possible to loose things in an upright if it is not managed well. A list of items in the freezer that is updated as items go in and out is essential for me to keep up with our food and avoid waste.


Monday 8th of June 2015

We have 2 chest freezers and I love it. We also buy beef by the 1/4 cow because we don't eat conventional raised meats and it's way too expensive to buy otherwise. We eat beef once or twice a week (family of four), so it's worth it for us. We then have the space to stock on good deals too.


Monday 8th of June 2015

For making bread, these are my two "go-to" recipes:

Knead Not Sourdough from Alton Brown

White Bread from an ancient BH&G cookbook I got at a thrift store, I think. The recipe is free online too:

For something fancier, I make Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal bread

Any recipe at is worth trying, in my opinion.

As for the chest freezer. I love mine. There's only two of us in my house currently but I feel we get good use out of it.

Gladys (The Pinay Mom)

Monday 8th of June 2015

My husband bought me bread machine from Goodwill (for only $10!) that looks brand-new but I haven't used it.I like making bread without it,it's fun especially with the girls' help.

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