While I love my toast and tea in the morning for breakfast (Mmmmm, PB and J!) occasionally, I have to use frugal bread alternatives. You see, I have a small off-grid fridge that can only store one loaf of bread in the freezer at a time. My Half-Acre Homestead is far from a grocery store. Way too far to drive if I run out of bread. It would literally cost me more than TWICE the cost of the loaf in gas to drive to the store and back. Would that be frugal? Heck no, my dear readers!
So, what to do when the bread bag is empty? I draw on my creative inner Frugalite to come up with some bread alternatives! I turn it into a game! Let’s see how long I can last without bread before I have to go to the store. Can I make it until I have a few other errands to run and make that trip to town worth it?
Now, you might live in the city and have a grocery store around the corner. However, you may run out of bread one night and need something in a pinch. Or you might have a busy week and want to delay a shopping trip just for bread. Perhaps you are trying to be extra frugal this week and stretch your shopping dollars. A couple of these are on the uber Frugalite Cheap Eats list. You might even have all of these thrifty basic ingredients in your pantry right now!
I hope these bread alternatives come in handy for you somehow!
Alternative #1: Corn Pones
My Mennonite cookbook, aptly titled More with Less, turned me on to these little gems. I just happened upon the recipe and decided to try them. Corn pones truly are like frying a cornbread muffin.
I always have these basic ingredients in my pantry:
- baking powder
- milk or milk powder
- bacon grease or butter
- a bit of salt
You can whip corn pones up in less than 5 minutes in one bowl and then fry them in a pan. I flatten mine with my flipper. Voila! A pretend piece of bread to spread with PB and J. Yum Yum!
My secret corn pone tip: After making a few that, ummm, kind of fell apart (heartbreaking!) I started adding one egg to my recipe. They have been much sturdier since then. If you like cornbread, you will love these. They would be nice as a “bun” alternative with most meals, too. If you make corn pones to accompany a stew or chili, don’t be shy….add some chili powder or hot pepper flakes and some grated cheese. Delicious!
Alternative #2: Pancakes
Just last week, I ran out of bread and decided to make pancakes as an alternative. Knowing I would be eating these as substitute bread for my breakfast, I added a couple of ripe bananas that had been sitting in my tiny freezer for a bit too long. My pancake recipe (also from my frugal Mennonite cookbook) calls for one cup of flour. I hand-ground some organic wheat berries to make half a cup of flour and mixed it with half a cup of whole wheat flour.
Instead of the buttermilk called for in the recipe, I substituted my own homemade kefir. Super thrifty, I know! Hee hee! They were delicious. For breakfast, I just spread the peanut butter and jam right on them. Great pretend bread, and I had enough to last several days. Pancakes are a handy snack cold out of the fridge. Just spread some butter on them and maybe some jam. Pretty healthy, too!
Alternative #3: Change it up for Oatmeal
It has been hot lately. Really really hot! So, I won’t be using this thrifty bread alternative this summer. However, come the fall, I love oatmeal. Yes, I know a bowl of oatmeal isn’t BREAD, but it is a grain. In a pinch, when there’s no bread, I grab my jar of oatmeal off the shelf and make up a hot bowl for breakfast. What makes this fun is adding all my favorite treats, like raisins, dried apricots, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds….you get the picture! Oh! Don’t forget the cinnamon! I like to garnish my oatmeal with a dollop of homemade kefir and a little bit of maple syrup.
However, there is a way to make something great for breakfast with oatmeal and only a few other ingredients: baking powder, salt, some fat (bacon or butter). If you have these things on hand, then you can make traditional Scottish oatcakes! These turn out best when you grind the oats quite fine. You can bake these in the oven or fry them in a pan. Here is an excellent recipe if you are interested in trying these.
Alternative #4: Just Bake Some Bread, Already!
Yes, I know: I could bake some bread! However, did I mention it’s hot right now? Having the oven doesn’t appeal. It would add a lot of heat to my kitchen! I do bake bread occasionally. A while ago, I decided I would make ALL of my bread ALL of the time. That lasted….well….that lasted about three loaves. My bread was good, but my organic spelt flour is quite heavy, and my bread didn’t rise very high. It was more like a loaf of biscotti. Haha!
Surely the urge to bake bread will return. So, I always have a container of yeast/sourdough mix on hand. The very simple recipe is by weight and requires kneading until the dough becomes smooth. The recipe says this may take about 10 minutes, so I set my timer on my phone. It seemed like an eternity….as I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded. It was tough work! Are we there yet? I do manual labor on a farm for a living, and still, my arms were getting tired. It was humbling. Maybe that is why I usually make pancakes when I’m out of bread! There could be a CrossFit training program designed around kneading bread.
When you Need Bread, do you Knead Bread?
What do you do when you run out of bread, and you can’t get to the store? Do you have frugal bread alternatives you use in a pinch? Do you usually bake your own bread? Please share your tips and ideas in the comments below!