Two weeks ago I declared a moratorium on bread for the forseeable future. Not the actual eating of bread but the buying of it. I’m not buying it anymore.
Instead, I’ve decided to start making my own. It has to be cheaper than buying it at the store, although that isn’t really the point. (This is more an exercise in good nutrition than saving money.) A regular loaf of whole wheat bread is about $2.79. If you’re lucky, there’s a 2 loaves for $4 sale on at the grocery store, which makes it $1.43 a loaf. Which is a pretty good deal. Except the price seems to have gone up lately to 2 loaves for $5, which works out to $2 a loaf, which really isn’t a tremendous savings. And I have three or four (or 10) books on baking bread. That I never use. Also I’m tired of tossing half a loaf the last few slices of bread in the green bin because they are stale or dried out from being in the fridge for two weeks. Which is probably a week or so longer than it should be in there.
So I told the DH two weeks ago I was done. No more bread buying. He didn’t say much. In fact I don’t even know if he’s even noticed that there’s been no store bought bread in the house of late. Instead there is always a loaf of fresh bread on the cutting board and I have to say, it’s pretty delicious. And I know exactly what goes in it – flour, water/milk, butter/oil, salt, yeast, baking soda and honey/sugar. That’s it.
Also I’ve noticed I rarely throw out bread now. If there is a bit left, I cut it up into cubes and freeze it for croutons later. Or breadcrumbs.
Overall making my own bread hasn’t adversely affected my life. I have a bread maker that was languishing and figured it was time to show it some love. Did you know you can bake regular, non-bread machine recipe bread in the bread maker? I didn’t. But I tried it and it turned out just fine. I’ve now got it down to a science and quite literally three mintues of prep time and three hours of bake time makes the house smell awesome and provides enough bread for two adults to eat for two or three days. If it lasts that long. And I’m in the kitchen anyway so another three minutes tossing ingredients into the machine is no big deal.
Pre-bread buying moratorium, I bought an enormous bag of flour at Costco and I’ve hardly made a dent in it after six loaves. I’ve also got an enormous bag of whole wheat flour that isn’t even open. At this rate I figure I can make bread for the rest of the year for pennies a loaf. I haven’t figured out the actual costs and probably won’t (I am lazy) but it can’t cost all that much to make my own bread.
Currently, I make one loaf at a time right now. But I figure, once some freezer space opens up, I’ll make two or three different flavours over the course of a day and freeze them which will further simplify life. And add more variety to our bread-eating options.
And it won’t be just bread machine bread either. Once the weather cools down I hope to spend one weekend day a month baking bread. And it’s not like you spend the whole day hovering over the bread anyway. A stand mixer with a dough hook does the kneading and then it’s just a matter of letting it rise and baking it.
My dad made bread a lot when I was a little girl and I can still remember how good that warm whole wheat bread tasted, right out of the oven, dripping with butter. And speaking of butter, I just found out yesterday that DH has a cousin who has a contact for fresh goat and cow milk. I think some homemade butter would taste pretty damn good on the homemade bread.