(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)
By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and What to Eat When You’re Broke
Who doesn’t love a hot, fluffy loaf of bed, fresh from the oven, drenched in salted butter, so tender it nearly melts in your mouth? The storebought stuff in those cellophane bags doesn’t even seem like the same species of food once you grow accustomed to delicious fresh-baked bread. But, to buy it from a bakery can be costly and to make it from scratch can be time-consuming. My pro-tip for weekly fresh-baked bread on a dime? A bread machine can save you both time and money and can be a real boon for Frugalite foodies.
When I was in Europe the last time around, most meals were served with a slice or two of freshly made bread. I noticed that the stores had the cellophane bags, but they don’t call it bread. The bags were labeled “toast” as Europeans are pretty picky about their baked goods and wouldn’t dream of aligning the two products. After spending the better part of the year with all the decadent bakery items a bread-lover could want, I tend to agree.
When I returned home, I was determined to keep up with many of the healthy, delicious foods I had enjoyed in Europe, and at the top of that list was fresh bread.
Buying a bread machine on a budget
I’ve dealt with a lot of sticker shock at the grocery store since returning from Europe. While I want to be a food snob, I want to do it on a budget. With American prices, buying a $7 baguette a couple of times a week seemed completely unrealistic, and running a business, I don’t always have hours to spend in the kitchen.
But before spending Amazon money, I opted to search my local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Much to my delight, I scored the Cuisineart I had my eye on for only $45. It was still in the box and had the instructions. Needless to say, I bought it immediately.
Bread machine cost and time analysis
It took me a few loaves to master my bread machine. The first loaf was the approximate size and density of a small meteor, capable of punching a hole in the earth if it were to come into the atmosphere at high speed. By the third loaf I’d gotten the hang of it and now, I get a light, fluffy, incredible loaf everytime.
Here are my calculations, not including the use of electricity.
It costs 80 cents a loaf using standard flour bought in a ten-pound bag from Walmart and other standard ingredients. A loaf isn’t like a grocery store-sized loaf – it’s smaller. I’d probably make 3 to 5 loaves a week if I was making it for a family.
Using organic flour costs $2.00 – 2.35 a loaf. This ranges from regular organic bread flour to einkorn flour.
It takes me three minutes start to finish to measure out my ingredients and hit start on the machine. The innards are dishwasher safe, though I prefer to wash them by hand.
Get the most bang from your bread machine buck
Here are a few miscellaneous things I’ve learned:
- Wait an HOUR before slicing it. This firms it up more
- Store it in an airtight container for the first 24-36 hours. These are the perfect size.
- Store it in the fridge for the third day.
- If it’s not rising properly or is too dense, don’t be afraid to increase yeast, sugar, and/or salt. I find that mine works best with double the yeast of the recipe.
- Bread machine bread makes epic breadcrumbs, which can be used in many different ways. I scrape my cutting board into a freezer bag, and then any left over bread goes into the food processor and into the bag. You could also put your breadcrumbs in a dehydrator to make them shelf-stable. (This makes yummy stuffing, too!)
- A bread machine adds far less ambient heat to your house than baking bread in your oven. You still get the yummy smell though!
What are your thoughts?
Would you consider getting a bread machine or pulling yours out of the attic where it’s hiding? Do you use a bread machine regularly? What do you see as the pros and cons?
Let’s discuss bread in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.