Baking homemade bread is one of my favorite “chores”. Once you get used to using homemade bread making for your sandwiches, you won't be able to stand the store bought sliced loaves anymore! Not only is it better tasting, you also know exactly what goes into it.
I started my jump into using only fresh bread by purchasing it from Deli's. It tastes wonderful, but the cost does add up. Making homemade bread saves a lot of money. Baking homemade bread at home is actually pretty easy! Here are a few bread baking tips:
Bread Making Tip 1: Get a Bread Machine
I love my bread machine! You do not need one, but it does make things fast. The extra time spent making bread is in the kneading and rising steps. With a bread machine, you can skip that. Well, you aren't really skipping it, but the machine will time how long it takes to rise and knead the dough for you. It can make bread making a lot easier. In fact, if you are making rolls or another dough that you need to bake in the oven, you can still use your bread machine to do the mixing and kneading for you. I find that this saves me a lot of time.
A bread machine does not have to cost a lot of money. I have an Oster Express Bake that costs less than $60 at Amazon (and you will make up that cost quickly if you bake your own bread!). You can also sometimes find bread machines at rummage sales for less than $10!
Bread Making Tip 2: Organize with Mason Jars
Mason jars are amazing! One of their many uses (besides canning) is for organization. The Quart sized jars are perfect for the dry bread ingredients in a two pound loaf (normal bread machine size). You can find the jars at Ace Hardware or online at Amazon. They will run you around $15 for a set of 12. I make up around 6 jars at a time. All the dry ingredients go in the jar and I write the amount of liquid ingredients, yeast, and the type of loaf on the lid. When it is time to bake the bread it takes me less than 3 minutes to put it in the bread machine and push start!
Bread Making Tip 3: Buy your Yeast in Bulk
Costco carries yeast in bulk. A two pound package will run $3-$4. A two pound package of yeast is the equivalent of 128 of the packets they sell in the grocery store (which usually sell in groups of three for around $2.50. So, you end up spending about $0.03 per loaf of homemade bread instead of $0.83. That means making your bread at home is both healthier and cheaper.
Bread Making Tip 4: Buy your Flour in Bulk
You can do the same with your flour! A 25 pound bag of flour will keep you from having to buy a small bag every few weeks and works a lot better if you are going to be using the mason jars. A 25 pound bag of flour will make approximately 38 two pound homemade bread loaves and costs $6-$7 at Costco (about $0.17/loaf).
Bread Making Tip 5: Learn How to Store and Slice your Homemade Bread
I quickly found out that storing homemade bread is a lot different than the preservative injected loaves you buy at the grocery store. When I started out bread making I would wrap each loaf in saran wrap, but it would still get hard quickly (within a day or two), especially if the kids grabbed a slice without fixing the saran wrap afterwards. I now use the Progressive Bread Keeper and I love it. It has a vent on one end that I can adjust based on how humid it is. It was less than $12 and well worth it to me. There are a lot of other options (including bread bags or a bread cabinet). Now a loaf of homemade bread lasts as long as about 5 days (if it is ever around that long!), which makes homemade bread making more practical.
Slicing homemade bread can also be tricky. For some reason that was a mental block for me. When I bought bread from the deli I always had them slice it. When I switched over to homemade bread making I learned a few things about slicing that delicious bread. Head over to my post on the best way to slice homemade bread if you have the same troubles with it that I did.
Bread Making Tip 6: Use mesquite flour!
Mesquite flour is healthy and delicious! It is gluten-free and it is a great addition for those of you who are on a diabetic diet. You can purchase mesquite flour, but it tends to run $15-$20/pound. If you have mesquite trees in your yard you can make your own mesquite flour! Generally you can replace a quarter to half of the bread flour with mesquite flour, but you can experiment to see what works for you!
Making Homemade Bread: Cost Analysis
- 1 cup warm water – FREE
- 1/3 cup sugar – $0.08 (I also buy sugar in bulk so it may be a bit more expensive if you don't)
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast – $0.03
- 3/4 tsp salt – $0.02
- 2 Tbs oil – $0.15 (I use the Kirkland extra virgin olive oil)
- 3 cups flour – $0.21
So, my basic white homemade bread costs $0.49 per loaf. I go through about two loaves per week. My grocery store sells one pound deli loaves for $3 each (each of my loaves are 2 pounds) so compared to that, my homemade bread making is saving us $11.02/week. You will even save money if you compare it to the generic 1-2 pound sliced loaves in the bread section!
With those savings I would pay for the bread machine in 6 weeks and the bread keeper in another week. After that I will be saving $47.75 each month. The taste of homemade bread is worth paying more for so saving money makes it even better!