Many people enjoy making their own bread rather than buying it from the store. There really is nothing like the smell of a freshly-baked loaf wafting through your kitchen, and it tastes best when you can eat it straight from the oven.
If you make bread, you can customize it to your taste, and experiment with different ingredients and flavors.
Homemade bread is a favorite with friends and family alike – it’s simple, wholesome, and tasty.
But can making your own bread have financial benefits as well as social ones? After all, stores often hike up the prices of their products so that they can make more of a profit on them.
This is especially true in small towns that don’t contain a lot of large chain stores, where people have to rely on convenience stores to get their groceries.
Unfortunately, it’s not a clear-cut answer as to whether making bread is cheaper than buying it, because it depends on a range of factors that you will have to consider if you want to make the switch.
Here, we will take you through some of these, and also give you some fun facts and tips about homemade bread.
The raw materials needed to make bread are pretty cheap: a basic loaf will require water, yeast, bread flour, oil, and small amounts of both sugar and salt.
You can add other ingredients such as herbs if you wish, but these are the main ones you’ll be concentrating on.
All of them are very widely available and mass-produced, so you should be able to find them in your nearest grocery store for a reasonable price.
The one thing you may not be familiar with in the list is yeast, and this can look like it’s expensive, but that’s because it often comes in packs that provide enough yeast for many batches.
You will only need as little as a teaspoon for every pound of flour, or one handy 7g sachet. Bulk yeast can be found on Amazon, giving you even more options when it comes to planning your breadmaking.
While the ingredients required for a single batch of bread are cheap, you still have to make a higher initial purchase, since the quantities available to buy of each ingredient will be more than you need.
Therefore, if you only plan on making bread once, it will cost you significantly more to collect the individual ingredients than to just buy a completed loaf off the shelf.
You will then have surplus of each left over, unless you decide to use them up in other baking projects.
Of course, the cost of the ingredients isn’t the only expense involved in breadmaking – you will need to think about the equipment you’ll be using. At minimum, you will need an oven, a mixing bowl, weighing scales, loaf pans, and measuring cups.
Most people will have these around the kitchen anyway, and nobody’s going to go out of their way to buy an oven specially for bread!
However, it is recommended that you have an actual breadmaker, as this will improve the overall consistency of your bread and save you time in the process.
Unlike an oven, which can cook any foods you want, a breadmaker specifically deals with dough, so it’s a big investment and you should be serious about making bread before you purchase one.
As well as the cost of the equipment itself, there are costs involved with running and maintaining it.
The main one is electricity used while the oven or bread maker is on, which can contribute significantly to your total outgoings. Bread usually needs to cook for 2 hours, to allow the yeast to take effect and raise the dough properly.
The price of this electricity varies depending on your specific oven and your electricity plan, because ovens can have different wattages and different companies charge more or less for usage.
Can I Reduce the Costs of Making Bread?
The above numbers are based on the average costs for making bread, but there are ways to save in some areas. First of all, you can buy ingredients in bulk quantities if you know you’re going to be making many batches.
Bread manufacturers often have special wholesale rates, and can purchase flour directly from farmers to cut their costs as much as possible. It may take a bit of research to find out how you can buy in the most cost-effective way as a consumer, but there are ways if you look hard enough.
Although, as stated, it will only make a noticeable difference if you’re buying a lot of each ingredient in one go.
If you have enough supplies, you can make several loaves at once; this will save on electricity compared to baking separate batches over different days.
Most ovens will have enough space for at least two loaves, but you’ll only need to use the same electricity you would for one, and it will only have to heat up once.
If you don’t think you’ll get through two loaves, you could always give the other one away or freeze it until you’re ready to eat more bread.
Homemade bread can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, you could stick with just one loaf, but increase the ingredient measurements, so there is more of it to go round.
Baking your own bread can be fun and provide a great sense of satisfaction, but it can also save you money in the long run, especially if you incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Having enough time to make your bread is vital, because the main advantage store-bought bread has is convenience – you can just pop into your nearest store and pick up a loaf whenever you want.
Baking bread requires more planning, and you also need to make sure you have all the equipment you need before you dive in. However, it is easy to catch the breadmaking bug, so it’s good to know that the overall benefits can outweigh the possible drawbacks if you do it right.