I've been wanting to talk about this for a while.....and Holly, over at allthedaysofmylife , brought up a good comment about calculating the savings when you make your own bread. (She just acquired a FREE breadmaker through Freecycle....she's a smart frugal gal!)
I make my own bread, too. For me, it's cheaper than therapy!
Here's my "breakdown": (no pun intended)
*I use a Zojirushi, they have a full line of Breadmakers. I am on my 2nd one. I wore the first one out in Alaska. I like this so much, I even bought my mother one for a gift! It's a work-horse. It sets itself apart in that it is programmable, it has TWO paddles, an in-machine water temp heater thingie (so the water will just the right temp for the yeast) and it makes 2# loaves, which supposedly last longer.
*I use King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 5 lb. exclusively. It is THE BEST. I will admit, I am cheap so I tried the cheap flours. They will do the job, I guess. But they're not good enough. If I am going to the trouble of making my own bread, I want the finest ingredients. If you want more info on KAF, you should look at the Recipes and also they even have a BLOG: King Arthur Flour - Bakers’ Banter....
*I use Yeast - SAF Red Instant - 16 oz. which is also available from KAF. It's a frugal bread baker's must. (An incredible value: SAF Red instant costs 75% LESS than supermarket active dry yeast, AND works better. ONE BAG will make 96 loaves, need I say more??)
My family really likes these two breads best of all. I make the bread 5 times per week and the rolls 3 times per week.
Decadent Sweet Milk Bread, (beware, it's decadent but oh man is it the BEST bread ever!!)
I think the internet is the most amazing tool for recipes. I am able to find the coolest bread recipes in a snap! Love it!
Well, here's my cost breakdown (which assumes some ingredients already on hand):
One bag of KAF Bread Flour $4.72 (ouch I know, but it rocks!!)=contains 20 cups of flour or 5 loaves.
$4.72 divided by 5 = $0.94 per loaf,
add in a few cents more for the yeast and SWC (sweetened condensed milk), let's say $1.15.
At my local store, Bloom, one loaf of plain sandwich bread is $2.69! If you're lucky, on sale for $1.99. Even on sale, my bread is $.84 cheaper. Five loaves per week on average (with the $0.84 savings), let's say I bake bread only 40 weeks out of the year: That is a savings of $168.00 per year.
Now you see why I got all crazy when my local Bloom put KAF flour on sale for $1.99 per 5# bag!! It made my savings even deeper. yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes effort. But after talking with some other women, that's why they resist it: the time/effort. I don't know about you but I have more time than money. Plus my bread tastes better.
Some of you don't have the time, nor the inclination, to bake your own bread. I get that....but if you have the means (and you're smart enough to get a bread machine on Freecycle), you, too, can do this. It takes a little more time, but really no more than getting in your car, driving to the store and buying a loaf of bread that was made in some factory....
I get such a feeling of accomplishment when my kids or my husband say they love my bread. I know, all I did was throw ingredients together. But I made it with love.