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1.21.2010

Baking Bread... and saving money!

Baking bread has always been something I have enjoyed doing. However, doing it on a regular basis in place of store bought bread is something that has just been hanging out there in the back of my brain. I don't even remember what it was that set the wheels in my brain turning- doubtless something I read on the internet. Now not only do I want to bake my own bread- now I want to grind my own flour and make my own bread. But, as with any of my passing fancies (that makes me sound fickle- very few of them pass all the way, I'm just obsessed with them for several weeks, then they become normal parts of my life instead of being all-encompassing) it involves buying stuff. If I would have bought everything I have felt the desire to buy lately in relation to baking I would have bought a grain mill, 50lbs of wheat, a 6 gallon food storage bucket, the books Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and this:

It's a totally useful piece of kitchen equipment- a stoneware baker. And they're only about $40, which in the realm of quality kitchen equipment is a steal. HOWEVER it's impulsively buying things like this with no regard to my budget that gets me in financial trouble. And can you imagine how much it would have cost had I bought it all? So I've resolved to take it slow and substitute cheaper options until I can affort the pricier ones. So for now I'm going to make my own baker from supplies I can find at the Home Depot. I'm going to hold off on the mill and use regular flour for now (ditto on the wheat). And I've discovered that the concept of no-knead bread is not that new and is not exclusive to the "bread in 5 minutes a day" books. I found a good base recipe at Breadtopia (awesome overall site on all things Bread, BTW). I feel fantastic because by taking a minute to see if I actually "need" things I have saved roughly $320 (rough estimate, but I would have spent about $350 on the books, containers for the dough, the stone baker, the mill, and the wheat while I estimate that I'll now spend $30 on my baker, flour, and two containers for storing dough). Yeah me!

And then I will be saving massive amounts of money by making my own bread instead of buying it! I'll have to crunch the numbers myself, but someone posted in a comment that her bread costs about $.50 a loaf to make- compare that to over $4 for the good loafs at the groccery store!

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