Making Gradual Changes: Bread

Over the years I buy fewer ready-made foods and cook more at home.  As my family grows, the time I spend cooking pays off more in terms of both time and expense. A box of packaged cereal seems to disappear in minutes, and even two pizzeria pizzas won’t feed a family of 8 that includes 3 teenage boys.

We have always bought bread, though. The type my husband prefers is known as “black bread,” made of white unbleached flour. My kids are used to it, although I find it too salty. It’s also known to be full of preservatives. My kids are used to it, though, and since I don’t keep snack foods or boxed cereals around, the kids eat it in sandwiches as a fallback when there isn’t anything else available.

Last week I made a quadruple batch of  Oatmeal Sourdough Bread. “Instant” unflavored oatmeal is another staple I keep on hand, and my freezer is full of the 90% whole-wheat flour I buy in bulk. I cut the loaves in half and froze them, and I see they have been going quickly. When it’s available, my husband and I eat the sourdough bread exclusively. What has changed is that several of my kids, while preferring the white bread for school, have been happy to eat the sourdough loaves at home. Some of my kids won’t touch it. Gradual changes.

90% flour means that 10% of the roughest fibers have been sifted out. It’s considerably more expensive than white flour, which is subsidized in Israel, so I don’t think I save that much even though it is more filling. But I am happy not to spend the money on “extras” like preservatives that we don’t need.

Other ways I encourage my kids to eat less store-bought bread include making pizza at least once a week and sending leftovers go to school the next day. I also bake muffins regularly and experiment with cutting down on the amount of oil. This week I forgot the oil and still got compliments. I need more muffin tins because my two 12-muffin trays make enough for only a couple of days, and it’s too complex to empty out the tins and refill while they’re still hot.

I think family members are more likely to accept new foods when they see their parents eating those foods regularly. One friend said she introduced changes by cooking her meals separately. Her kids got curious and started asking to taste.

If you’ve changed your cooking or shopping habits lately, how has your family reacted?

Related: Ten Tips for Making Healthy Changes in Your Family’s Meals


  1. When it’s just the 3 of us at home, I make simpler weekend meals. I used to feel I had to serve lots and lots of salads and side dishes, but gradually realized that I was cooking for a fantasy large group, not my diminished circle. My shopping list is shorter now. We still eat very well. And of course it’s more economical.

    I think my husband and daughter are relieved to see fewer dishes on the table.

    • Mimi, I went through a stage where I never seemed to make enough! Part of the reason I got more interested in efficient cooking is because I had to figure out how to cook for a large family without letting it take over my whole life.

  2. Hi! I jst came across your sight today. I’m going to try to make that oatmeal Sourdough Bread.

    We love Cheese in our home. One change I am making (and it takes a LONG time) is making my own cheese.

    it’s not less expensive. But one you have perfected a recipe, its MUCH better cheese. And you know whats in it.

    Does any one make there own cheese in Israel?

    • Thanks, Mike. Mimi, the previous commenter and bread-maker, is the expert. Most forms of rennet are not kosher, and kosher types are closely guarded by the large cheese manufacturers. I believe Mimi said it’s almost impossible to get it here.