My sister makes AT LEAST a loaf of bread every day using a Wolfgang Puck bread machine I gave her last Christmas (it cost only $40, which INCLUDED shipping!! It retailed at almost $200! But that’s another story…) Anyway, her family adores her homemade bread. She makes a variety of different kinds (and sometimes brings Mike and I one of her concoctions 🙂 ), and it’s healthier and fresher than anything available in the store…not to mention made with love.
But is it less expensive???
One problem with baking homemade bread is the cost of yeast. While the price of other homemade bread ingredients isn’t particularly pricey, buying yeast the way it is sold at the supermarket (often in little individual packets, or “strips” of packets) is by no means frugal, and there is rarely a sale or coupon to help offset the cost of what would otherwise be a very frugal bread-baking endeavor.
Because of this, I often wonder, is it worth it? I have a nice little bread machine in the closet collecting dust that I’d love to experiment with. But with sales, deals and coupons nearly every week that allow me to buy my bread and buns from the grocery store from 20 to 90 cents, is it actually worth the time, effort and money to make my own bread? Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid quick-bread baker (banana, zucchini, and the like), but REAL bread always seems tedious and expensive…I’d whip out the calculator, do the math, and realize it would cost me 50 cents more (and 2 more hours) to bake my own loaf of bread rather than pick it up form the grocery store up the street. Frugal activity, my arse…
Yet I am inexplicably drawn to doing it. Baking bread is primal and ancient, and common to cultures all over the world. That’s what attracts me to it. The physicality of kneading and rolling dough releases stress, encourages patience and instills a sense of pride in the baker. Every loaf of bread (I think) tastes different…the hands and moods and unique ingredients of the baker add a flavor that can never be effectively replicated from loaf to loaf. Or from baker to baker.
That’s why I get very happy when I do see coupons for yeast…finding inexpensive yeast is the key to making homemade bread a truly frugal activity. With that in mind, I’m happy to share this 40 cents/1 Fleischman’s yeast. If you enjoy baking bread or making dough at home, print as many of these coupons as you can and save some dough… on your dough.
Another strategy to save money on yeast costs is to buy in bulk. You may have to do a little detective work to find a bulk yeast source in your area, but once you do the savings are HUGE. A few good places to start: your local Sam’s Club or Cotsco’s, any health/natural food stores in your area, or do an internet search for bulk yeast. In the long run, buying those little packets of yeast from the grocery store is going to cost you big time. If you’re a devoted baker, it’s worth the investment to buy yeast in bulk.
Once you get that bulk container of yeast, it will last around four months if you store in correctly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Freezing is not recommended, but I know plenty of people who do store their yeast this way to increase its longevity. For more information on yeast, and how to use and store it properly, check out this handy FAQ article from Breadworld.com
And if you’re interested in baking your own bread, prepare to be amazed at the variety of loaves there are to be created! Yet another reason my bread machine collects dust is that I was never sure where to start…the options are overwhelming and endless, and they all look equally delicious when I see them in picutes (or in person) . From Indian Naan Bread, to French Baguettes, to Potato Bread; the plethora of recipes I come across are downright dizzying.
Here are some great blogs/websites to get you inspired and excited (and provide you with helpful recipes…often with step-by-step picture instructions…don’t be afraid like me!! Have a go at creating the “staff of life”!)
- Wild Yeast: Everything you wanted to know about baking bread and more, with fantastically artistic picutes.
- The Fresh Loaf: Techniques, recipes and much, much more.
- Half Baked: Forget the bread for a minute and check out the recipe for the Two-Bite Peanut Butter S’Mores. MMM…
- Chowhound: This recipe-sharing site allows bakers from all over the world to share their delicious recipes. Perfect for those of us who delight in experimenting with ethnic ingredients and unfamiliar flavors!
I wish you the best of luck with any bread-baking experiments! One day (soon!) I’m going to dust off that bread machine and give it a go…or better yet, mix, knead and roll my dough old-school style like my Italian grandmother used to do…her hand clenched around a rolling-pin weapon, her face streaked with flour war-paint…
I think the most delicious bread is a combination of love and frustration/anger. A wise woman once told me that baking bread is like raising a child. The first half of the process is hard, diligent work… putting everything you’ve got into preparing, kneading and shaping the raw dough, and the second half is watching your creation grow (excited and terrified) into a finished loaf, coddling it a bit the whole time…worrying it won’t rise as it should… and waiting always, expectant. Wondering… did I do it right??