Make The Bread, Buy The Butter?


I ran across a great book this past weekend and wanted to share it with you.  Now granted I haven't finished reading the entire book yet, but what I have read has been witty, informative, and just plain fun!

The book in question is Make The Bread, Buy The Butter, by Jennifer Reese.

Jennifer has taken what could have been a standard (read as boring) recipe book and made it fun to read.  She does a fantastic job at not only giving you over 120 great recipes, but  also at giving you the skill and difficulty level of what it takes make each recipe and her opinion on whether or not it is in your best interest to just buy it from the supermarket.

Even if she suggests you buy it instead of making it yourself she still gives you the full recipe to do so.

This is perfect for the fresh faced homesteader, and even for one who has been making their own foodstuffs for years!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

(Be sure to check out the appendix, she gives some great resources for where to find some of the more expensive items)

Keep in mind that any of the prices she mention may be off as this book was published in 2011.

Also I wanted to pull an excerpt from the book to give you a little peek at her writing style:

(Nutella is a guilty pleasure of mine and I would love to make my own at home!)


Delicious on toasted English muffins and by the spoonful, straight from the jar, homemade Nutella is nubblier than the Ferrero product, but also more hazelnutty and intense. I thought the recipe from the archives of the Los Angeles Times was so perfect I decided to teach the sixth-grade girls in my cooking class how to make it.

They were very stoked—until they tasted it. They frowned. They were not pleased. So we added sugar and cocoa powder until we got the Nutella closer to the supersweet, fudgy, slightly waxy spread they know and love. I began to wonder if they would care if hazelnuts were eliminated entirely. Perhaps not. This recipe reflects the happy medium between my ideal Nutella and theirs.

Make it or buy it? Give it a try. Hassle: Skinning hazelnuts is maddening. Cost comparison: Homemade: $0.22 per tablespoon. Store-bought: $0.20 per tablespoon.
2 cups hazelnuts (about 9 ounces) ¾ cup cocoa powder 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil, plus more as needed

The plastic sacks of nuts from the baking section of a big-box supermarket cost more—often a few dollars per pound more—than nuts you scoop from the bins at a health food store, a co-op, or even the very same big-box supermarket.

Moreover, if you buy your nuts chopped, you may pay half again as much for the same variety of nut. Diamond chopped walnuts: $0.71 per ounce. Diamond walnut pieces: $0.50 per ounce. Whole Foods bulk walnuts: $0.37 per ounce. So learn to chop nuts and buy them from the bulk bin—but don’t buy too many.

If you store nuts in a tightly sealed container in the freezer they should keep for many months, but even there they eventually become rancid. You can taste it immediately when nuts have turned. Throw them out, because baking them or turning them into butter isn’t going to bring them back to life. It’s tempting to hoard nuts, like a chipmunk, but it’s also a mistake.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes until they begin to darken. Transfer to a clean, damp dish towel and rub until the skins loosen. Don’t worry about getting all the skins off; you never will.

3.In a blender or food processor, grind the hazelnuts into a butter. This takes about 5 minutes—don’t stop when the hazelnuts are merely ground up; you want them shiny and pourable.

4. When the hazelnuts are liquefied, add the remaining ingredients and grind until you have a mixture with the consistency of peanut butter, pausing once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

If it seems too dry, add a bit more oil.

5. Refrigerate in a covered container until needed. It lasts indefinitely, though you need to bring it to room temperature before you can spread it, which is actually the only drawback to this recipe. When people want Nutella, they want it now.

Makes 2 cups

Check out the book and let me know what you think!

Want to know more? Check out these related articles from our site:

COOKING SKILLS: 8 Reasons To Hold Onto Old Cookbooks

Homemade Corn Tortilla Recipe

Homemade Fruit Rollups Recipe

6 Responses to :
Make The Bread, Buy The Butter?

  1. Chuck says:

    Our forefathers stored nuts. The indians stored nuts. Neither had refrigeration, so how did they accomplish that or did they eat rancid nuts? I know if you are hungry enough, rancid nuts taste a lot better than no nuts or food at all. Have we lost something that the Old Ones knew and we don’t?

  2. Gaye says:

    Oh my gosh – I have this book and love it. There are surprises in the book but beyond that, what I like is that it has forced me view my “must cook from scratch” attitude in a new light.

    Thanks for sharing, Joe.

  3. Schneewitchen says:

    Another great book on this type of subject, if you can find it, is The Way to A Man’s Heart – The “Settlement” Cook Book,By: Mrs Simon Kander. This book was used to teach “homemaking” to high school students from 1903 forward, until the “wise ones” thought it no longer important.

    I have the fist edition, now falling apart and decrepit, but still a wonderful chunk of wisdom for all things homemaking.It not only includes cooking/baking from scratch, but household remedies, cleaning tips and nursing the elderly and infants back to health. Awesome investment if you can find the oldest ones, the newer versions reflect the reliance on “bought” stuff more.

  4. Éowyn says:

    Sorry, but the title completely turns me off. I would never buy a book that tells me to “buy the butter”. Store bought butter is made from the same garbage that they sell labeled as milk in the stores. Gross.
    Besides, if I am going to bake the bread, why would I ruin it with store bought butter? I would just use homemade jam and forget the butter, and I am a butter fanatic!

    1. Kelly Keith says:

      Don’t be quick to judge you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *