Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spending too much Dough and other Bread musings.

We're a relatively small brood of 2 adults and 2 children ages 3 and under. Amazingly enough we go through AT LEAST 3 loaves of bread. Each. Week. Usually more like 4.
What can I say? Sandwiches are easy & accessable. My husband works on the road so he can't bring leftovers for lunch. Toast is a must with my morning coffee. Need a little something extra at dinner time? Bread and butter is our cure all.
So I got to thinkin'.
A good loaf of Wheat Bread costs anywhere from about $1.99 to $2.50 depending on the brand and the store. That means we're spending $5.97-$7.50 +tax per week...on BREAD! Ugh! I started thinking about ways to cut the cost of bread. $5.97-$7.50 per week may not seem like a lot to you...but that's $310.44-$390 per year! Anyway, I came up with 3 possible alternatives.
1. Limit Sandwiches in our Household
2. Buy White Bread
...Wait, no. That's just not going to happen. I haven't eaten White Bread since I was about 8 and my memories are not fond. Yuck.
3.?? Make Your Own.
Alright-Confession: I love to cook. I find comfort and solace in taking a few basic ingredients (or not so basic, depending on my mood), cooking them in a number of different ways (oohhh the possibilities!!), and the end result being all but Divine.
...Baking? Ehhh
Baking means Measuring. Baking means Chemistry. I HATE Chemistry. Unless your referring to a love scene from The Wedding Date, my favorite Chick Flick.
I DO, however, enjoy saving money. And so I embark on this journey of fickle yeast, gluten and ::shudders:: measuring cups. I'll be using the recipe for Wheat Bread from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (Thanks, Aunt Sharon!). Aunt Sharon gave me this cookbook for my wedding shower and it has been, and remains to be, my life preserver for all things Culinary ever since the commencement of marital, and subsequently, domestic life.
Attempt #1: Followed Instructions to a "T"...I swear! I even used measuring cups! The dough never actually proofed (baker talk for rising). I...decided to bake it anyway haha.
Outcome: Brickish.
Attempt #2: Same as above. Poor, Poor hubby. least he'll get his fiber this week! :)Attempt #3: Ok, I went through the "Tips" section of BH&G. I read something about proofing the bread in your unheated oven with a bowl of hot water underneath. Like This:
The dough proofed a tiny bit...I think. Baked it....Bricked it.
Attempt #4: I enlisted the help of a veteran Bread Baker for this one. She suggested activating the yeast in a small bowl with 1c. of warm water and a tablespoon of sugar. If it foams up in 5 minutes...all systems are a go. If not, it's bad yeast. Well I got foam! So I proofed it in the oven just like BH&G said. IT PROOFED! Majorly. It was wonderful! So I proceded on with my dough. It says to let it proof again for 45mins after you put it in the bread pans. It was going along so well. It was rising to almost double it's original size.
and then we got some turbulence. In other words, my 2 year old ran through the kitchen like a heard of elephants. This burst my little bread bubble as I looked in on the bread just in time to see the bread deflate as a result of said turbulence. This is what happened:'s got wrinkles :(. However, with hopes high, I decide to bake it anyway. *Hoping* that maybe it'll rise again while it bakes. I'm a sucker for high hopes. This is what it looked like after baking.Flat and Brickish.

And so...I'll bid my bread making aspirations adieu for now. I will not give up though! After doing some calculations I found that baking your own loaf of bread would cost approximately $1.20. That's $3.60 per week for 3 loaves of bread. That'll save about $2.37-$3.90 per week or $123-$202 per year!

As for the bricks...

Bread Pudding!
and Caramel Sauce!

Until next time...


  1. Hi there,

    I enjoyed this post a lot actually. I have been studying culinary arts for a few years now and I remember the first time I baked a loaf of bread. Though it did turn out very well I remember the anxiety. I use Taste of Home cook books more often than not and I also love the Bread Bible!! I love bread, lol. Keep us posted on your next attempt and I hope it goes much better for you!

    Happy Eating,

  2. Hi Christina,
    Thanks for the comment! I'll have to check out those cook books that you mentioned. I have to admit, while rummaging through my mom's basement I found an antique-ish Bread Maker and put it to good use once I got the layer of dust cleaned off. I'm not going to give up on the old fashioned way of these days I'll get it!!!

  3. Ashley,

    Finally had a free moment to check out your blog. Love it. Keep it up. There is a ton of info on the web on how to add features to your blog and how to get your message out.

    Uncle Dennis can give you tips on bread making. He is a champ.