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Old 03-02-2004, 11:49 PM   #1
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Economics of home-baked bread

I love the taste of fresh home-baked bread (either hand-made or with a machine), but am wondering if the cost of preparing it actually makes it more economical than bought bread? I'm only cooking for myself.

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Old 03-03-2004, 12:13 AM   #2
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daisy,
if you enjoy bread making and only compare costs of ingredients to the cost of store-bought bread, it's less expensive to make it yourself...it depends on what type of bread you're making and how much you can get a similar loaf for at your grocery store, but i look at it this way: about the cheapest loaf of white bread or french bread i can get is about 1 dollar. i can also get 1 bag of flour for the same price, from which i can make about 4 or 5 loaves of bread. if you're making a basic bread then your only other expenses are butter or oil, milk (although you can easily substitute water), yeast, maybe an egg, and salt & sugar. these costs are very minimal. i suppose there is also the cost of the electricity or gas that is used to heat the oven, but i couldn't tell you how much that would cost. i would go out on a limb and say that you can make bread for app. 1/2 to 3/4 the price of store-bought bread. If you're making bread with wild yeast, then it would probably be even less. I'm just doing some rough math in my head, so if i'm wrong someone please correct me :-)

Since "economical" can mean more than how much something costs, other factors to take into consideration are whether or not you enjoy making bread, if you appreciate the difference in homemade bread (which you already said you did), if you have the time to make it, and if (since you're cooking for yourself) you can finish off the whole loaf before it goes bad--homemade bread tends to go bad faster than store-bought in my experience.

So when you factor in everything it's probably not necessarily more economical, but it sure does taste better!
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:38 AM   #3
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Our family makes bread every day and I its soooo much better than store bought bread. I buy flour in bulk (44lbs) but you could buy smaller bags on sale. I also buy yeast in bulk which you could do. Buy it at a resturant supply company. The dry yeast is vacumn packed and very cheap and should last 6 months. Keep it in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer. I measure it out myself. A loaf uses about 2 teaspoons. Most breads need flour, yeast, salt, fat and water. I use olive oil for the fat but you could use whatever is easy for you to buy and store. Shortening would be good.
The nice thing is the variety you can get with homemade. If you have a leftover carrot, shred it into the bread. A few nuts and raisins and a little sugar make a nice sweet bread. Can add an egg or seasonings like onion or dill. Its endless. I use my plain bread dough to make pizza.
Time is not a problem either if you have other things to do while its rising. I can make a dough in my food processor in under 10 minutes. I let it rise for an hour or so while I clean house. Then I put it in a pan and let it rise for 30-45 minutes more. Then 20 minutes to bake. You can do the first rising overnight in the fridge also.
GOOD LUCK :D
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Old 03-03-2004, 11:12 AM   #4
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I think Carnivore was close on the econoomics of bread making - although it's been a whle since I saw a loaf of store-bought for only a buck! Those packets of yeast are a tad expensive, but that can be eliminated if one goes the sourdough starter route - which, as he said, makes for a much more flavorful bread, too.

What I get a kick out of is this myth (which northerncook dispelled nicely) that bread-making is so time consuming. Heck, it takes a lot longer to bake a cke by the time you ice it and decorate it. Even a good pot of stew takes just about as much time as baking a loaf of bread..

Anyone who cooks only for themselves is dear to my heart. That's how I started cooking, some 60 years ago as a young batchelor. Over the years, when BW has been off bisiting relatives or whatever, I've enjoyed the "challenge" of cooking for one.. I find it easy and fun. Like making one baking powder biscuit, for example.

As for storing homemade bread, two things: The softer the dough and the onger the tise, the more moist the bread. And BW puts the cut loaf in a zip-lock bak immediately, and the bread stays "fresh" just about as long as commercial breads.
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Old 03-03-2004, 11:49 AM   #5
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I'm kind of like 2dogsmom - she's WAS afraid of making a whole chicken and I fear bread~~ I've made my own hamburger buns and hot dog buns and they were great - but for some reason I still think I can't make bread!! :oops:
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Old 03-03-2004, 01:15 PM   #6
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Elf: Just got to close your eyes and jump in...(or is that to learn to swim?) You really cant go wrong. Even a heavy dry loaf is good turned into ranch toast or bread pudding or if its really bad...doctored up bread crumbs.
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Old 03-03-2004, 04:24 PM   #7
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YEAH! C'mon, Elf - jump in, the water's fine! Look, just take a cup of warm water, stir in a package of Dry Yeast, dump in a tsp of salt and a couplde of cups of flour, and mix it all until it clumps and "cleans" the bowl, adding a bit more flour if necessary. Then knead it to "baby's butt" feel, let it rise til it won't rise anymore, press it down and form a loaaf, let it rise again til it won't rise any more, and bake it for 20-25 minutes at 350.

It's that easy. NOW HIE THEE TO THE KITCHEN AND DO IT!

(BW feeds my excess to the birdies in the bck yard. We've got some rather plump sparrows and jays :D )
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:34 PM   #8
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Then knead it to "baby's butt" feel
oldcoot, that reference is lost on me--unfortunately i don't have kids of my own, and the neighbors get cranky when i ask them if i can borrow their baby's butt for a minute
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Old 03-03-2004, 09:40 PM   #9
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OK...for those of you without babies or grandbabies...you can feel the pocket of skin between your thumb and index finger (at least this is what I read on the net )
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:49 AM   #10
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Go Elf, Go Elf !!!
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