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Do you save money baking bread?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to reduce what we spend and one of my ideas was to start baking our own bread, but then I looked at some recipes (I've never been a baker, it would be a new experience for me) and wondered how it could be any cheaper once I've bought all the ingredients? it's not like I have things like wheat gluten or dry milk already sitting around, kwim?

So is it really more cost efficient? Or just tasty because it's made from scratch?
post #2 of 37
I've started making no knead bread rather than picking up a baguette when I go shopping. That is a definite savings, since it's just water, flour, salt, tiny amount of yeast, and it warms up my oven for cooking supper. Recipe here. I use 1c whole wheat flour, 2c white flour, with no problems.

For sliced sandwich bread, I buy whole grain breads and bagels at a bakery outlet, and I don't think it would save much to make them myself instead. Not enough that I'm willing to take the time anyway.

For flour tortillas, I buy them when I can find them at the outlet or elsewhere for $1/package. Otherwise, I make them since the regular grocery store price around here is over $3/package. I always have flour, salt, and oil around the house, so no new expensive ingredients.
post #3 of 37
I did the math once and we save between 40-60% by buying ingredients and making bread ourselves. We do tend to eat a little more of homemade bread, though (since it's so much yummier), so maybe it's really more like 30-50%.
post #4 of 37
FWIW you don't need to use powdered milk.

The cheapest we can buy our (healthier) bread is $1.47. At first I thought we wouldn't save much because homemade bread disappears so much faster. But the novelty wears off eventually and we have stopped devouring it the second it's done baking

I buy 40lbs of flour for around $25, we grow our own eggs and my recipes usually call for milk and yeast. A package of yeast seems to last forever, I haven't found a cheaper source yet so it's $8. In all we went from spending $21/mo on bread to $13. Plus now I make most of our own buns. I haven't figured out the savings there, but I know it's significant because only the unhealthy white ones ever come on sale for $1/package.

AND we know exactly what is in our bread products too.
post #5 of 37
I have not sat down to calculate it firmly, but we did a rough estimate and we are definitely saving at least 50% by baking our own bread. I buy my flour when its on sale (and I buy our local co-op brand) so I only pay about $6 per 10kg - that's 3 loaves of bread right there.
post #6 of 37
We do!

I don't use dry milk since DD1 has a dairy allergy.

I buy our wheat berries in 40lb buckets and our yeast in 2lb packages.

Our bread is whole wheat flour, a bit of bread flour (for the higher gluten content), olive oil, water, yeast, and salt.

I also will make breadsticks that are just flour, water, olive oil, salt, and yeast.

We really need to be careful about what is in our food because of DD1's various sensitivities and it's much less expensive (and less time consuming) for me to bake our bread products instead of hunting down the brands that don't have dairy, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives.
post #7 of 37
I have not mastered bread for sandwiches yet. I do make our other breads and sweets like cinnamon rolls and it does save money-when compared to similar bakery iems.
post #8 of 37
The short answer is yes. The long answer is it depends.

DH is a baker by trade, and does most of the baking around here. (I'm just the dishwasher, .)

We buy organic whole grain flours thru a restaurant, and yeast, oats, and raw honey in bulk thru our co-op, olive oil from the restaurant supply store. Our cost is ~$1 per 1.5# loaf, plus utilities, bread bags (4c/ea), and our time.

DH has been desperately ill (off work all week) at the same time that our freezer stash of homemade bread was depleted. I went to local grocery today and bought a bag of day old bread, all 1# packages, 9 for $4. They probably aren't even covering their costs at 44c per loaf. But the bread isn't very good. It's white bread that toasts up into nothing, and has HFCS and trans fat in it. (We'll probably use most of it for croutons and breadcrumbs.)

So this isn't a true apples to apples comparison. It's more like conventional MacIntosh to organic Yellow Delicious.
post #9 of 37
We do, I most often just do a basic white for sandwiches. I'll make an oatmeal, with steal cut oats an the only thing I regularly need dry milk is when I make rye. We do eat more bread that is home made then back when I purchase bread. But that saves us money too. Because it means we are eating lunch at home. If I didn't have fresh baked bread and some cold cuts in the fridge, DP would be eating fast food for lunch.
post #10 of 37
I never really calculated. I mostly bake non-plain bread, though, like banana bread, blueberry bread, zucchini and sesame seeds...etc. I don't even know where to find those in stores. We don't have easy access to a real bakery. I imagine those "special" breads would cost quite a bit if I buy them.

I do still buy sliced sandwich bread and sometimes dinner rolls from grocery stores.
post #11 of 37
It doesn't save us much, but they have different places. I make bread for us to enjoy with or between meals. I haven't yet been able to make a loaf that is really good for sandwiches (my next attempt is cooling tho!), and we always buy whole grain sandwich bread on sale. If I wasn't making bread, we simply wouldn't have good rustic bread. If it's replacing rice or potatoes as the starch.. probably not saving money. But it's something I enjoy doing almost as much as I enjoy eating : )
post #12 of 37
For those of you who have tried making tortillas, can you post a link or recipe? What about a good recipe for soup rolls?
post #13 of 37
Yes, I know I save a significant amount by baking our own whole wheat sandwich bread. I use a GREAT recipe, found on the back of the Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour package. (which I stockpile when it's on sale twice a year). It's called something like "whole wheat bread for bread machines." I use my bread machine (purchased cheap off craigslist) for the dough cyle only. It mixes, kneads and does the first rise in the machine. Then I punch the dough down, put it in a loaf pan, let rise again, and bake in my oven. The whole process takes about 3 hours (mostly unattended) - I figure I spend less than 10 minutes of my time for super yummy, inexpensive 100% whole wheat bread that we all love for toast, sandwiches, etc. It even slices well! The least expensive ww bread that I can get at my local HFS (and Costco carries it, too) is still $4.00 a loaf.

Oh, and I buy most of the rest of the ingredients in bulk, including a huge box of powdered milk from Costco which lasts at least a year (which I also use as an ingredient in making homemade yogurt). Even the molasses and vital wheat gluten last a long time and can make lots of loaves before I need to buy more. So I guess what I'm saying is try not to be daunted by a few extra ingredients you might not normally have on hand, because it is definitely do-able.

Sorry so long winded, can you tell I love making my own bread?
post #14 of 37
When I make our bread, yes I save money but no, it's not a lot. I figured once that it cost us about 50 cents less a loaf to make, which when you take into account the labor, that's not much. But on the other hand, there's no surprises in our bread (no hfcs, additives, etc.), we're not wasting yet another tie and baggie, and really, it just tastes better.
post #15 of 37
You can really save a lot of money making your own bread once you get the hang of it. Once you can do a good sandwich loaf, you can move on to pizza dough, rolls, pitas, etc. To make a regular sandwich loaf it take 3.5 hour from start to finish, but hands on time is less the 30 minutes. If I were to recommend a beginner bread making guide it would definitely be the one from www.thefreshloaf.com. If you look along the top bar they will have a tab that says lessons. I have read through them and I think if I would have followed those lessons I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration.
post #16 of 37
I think you can definitely save money by baking your own...you'll have a little bit of start up cost, of course, if you have to buy loaf pans or if you choose to buy a baking stone but I've found that overall, I've recouped these costs easily!
post #17 of 37
x2 on expanding to other bread products... I completely forgot to mention that although we don't save too much on bread, the homemade pizza crust is a different story! I can't imagine paying for a prepackaged pizza crust (or the packets you mix.. yuck!) when it is super simple. Definitely start with a simple recipe- IMO all you need for some really yummy bread is flour, a pinch of salt, water, yeast, a pinch of sugar, and a little olive oil. But as demonstrated by the Fresh Loaf site a PP mentioned, you can even reduce it from there. Also, using a starter culture for rustic loaves can reduce or eliminate your need to buy yeast, which is one of the more expensive ingredients in simple breadmaking
post #18 of 37
It definitely does for us, because the store bread we buy (if we have to) is something like 3.29/loaf. (I won't eat junk bread.) I haven't done the math, but there is no earthly way the bread I make (usually just flour, water, yeast, and salt, though I make another version with a bit of oil and sugar) is anywhere close to that. Probably under $1 a loaf. We do eat more of it, but even so.

Recently I've been switching to no-knead bread and I do wonder about the cost of heating and preheating the oven so hot, but even so.
post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks everyone for all the ideas and info. i'm going to check out all the recipes and especially that website with the lessons!

I saved my "Christmas money" to use for start up costs on stuff like this to save money throughout the year so this could definitely work for us. Having a sandwich bread is the main thing we'd need so I'll have to figure that one out. I'm pretty excited with so many recommendations.

Also thanks for the reminder that the other huge benefit is knowing what's in my bread! Great point (and one I'll be using to sell my DH on lol...)
post #20 of 37
I know I save money baking bread, but honestly, it's one of my favorite hobbies and it feeds/nourishes my family. Having my DS1 excitedly say "Warm bread" as he digs out the honey and cut off a hearty hunk of bread is one of my favorite things.
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