Every home cook will know that when you come to basic ingredients whatever you make at home, there is a factory made version, and its a balancing act as to wether its worth the effort making. A classic example of this dilemna would be pastry, if the TV shows are to be believed even professional chefs buy it it ready made.
For a time I grew my own wheat to make flour, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, decent shop brought flour was probably better. But I had fun so for me it was worth it, but as a straight cost benfit analysis it probably wasnt.
Now if you have read my blog before you will know I delight in a bacon sandwich, and lack of organisation means I tend to use shop brought bacon, but occasioanally life co operates and I manage to make my own. It requires remarkably very little effort, just forward thinking and organisation, and knocks the commercial product right out of the park.
Start with a piece of pork from a proper butcher. If you like streaky bacon buy belly pork, if you prefer meaty bacon buy pork loin. I tend to purchase about a kilo and get the butcher to trim the skin off, but make sure he gives it back to you as it makes superb pork scatching a delicasy for another day. I like to use a dry rub which for about 1 kg uses 75 grms of salt and an equal amount of muscavado sugar, to which I add Prague No 1 powder. Make your own mind up about the prague powder, read the manufacturers instructions, and measure carefully. My natural inclination is to avoid adding chemicals but in this case it keeps the bacon pink rather than grey and more importantly avoids botullism. So mix your rub and then rub into your piece of pork, taking care to get it into all the little creases. Put it into an airtight plastic box, in the fridge a leave it for a week. turn it daily.
At the end of the week, rinse throughly with cold water, and wash off all the salt. If you leave it to soak for 20 mins it helps. Its now ready to use and very good it is too. As luck would have it I have a smoke house so I then smoke mine overnight with maple chips and the end result, for what is really very little effort is amazing. Slice it and cook it over wood in a frying pan you made, with home made spelt bread, home made brown sauce, and you have a meal fit for the gods. I dont know if there is a food god but if there is he ( she) is smiling down on me today, makes up for the mistakes. The only element left for improvement is home made butter – one day.