Is it worth the time and expense to make homemade bread rather than buying it from the store?
I know you make your own bread and I did too for a while. But I make white bread. When I tried making wheat bread it was heavy and dry. With summer here I have been buying it. I think it is a good deal at $.75 a loaf for white & $.99 for grain.
Do you think it is even worth me making bread at this cost?
Short answer: Only you can decide if the time, expense, and health benefits of homemade bread is worth it to you!
Every home runs a little differently. One person might care more about the cost upfront, and choose to buy their bread. Another person might have special equipment that makes homemade bread very quick and easy -- and so it is worth it to them.
Others feel so passionately about consuming only the healthiest bread, and feel that the health benefits far outweigh the other factors. And some families don't eat much bread, so it's not really a big deal. Or the husband/father prefers bread from the store.
Several times recently I've been asked to sell a loaf of my homemade wheat bread (this is the bread we normally consume). In order to come up with a price, I decided to figure out what each loaf was costing in ingredients.
Cost analysis of my homemade 100% whole wheat bread (per loaf):
1 cup filtered water = $0.01
2 tablespoons oil = $0.06
1 teaspoon salt = $0.01
2 tablespoons raw honey = $0.20
1 tablespoon milk = $0.02
2 tablespoons dark brown cane sugar = $0.04
3 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (about 1 pound of grain) = $0.58
2 teaspoons yeast = $0.08
Cost per loaf: $1.00 (no, I didn't try to get it to come out even!)
Optional dough conditioners for whole wheat bread (we do add these):
Pinch ginger = $0.01
Pinch citric acid or ascorbic acid = $0.01
1 teaspoon lecithin = $0.05
3 tablespoons gluten flour/vital wheat gluten = $0.30
Final cost for my loaf of bread: $1.37 (minus other considerations such as: butter to grease the pan/dough, fuel for the oven, wear and tear on equipment such as grain mill and bread machine, and additional strain on the air conditioner during hot months)
This does make a very large loaf, comparable in size to the 100% whole wheat loaf that Aldi sells for $1.49 (last time I checked -- a few months ago).
I realize that we are not saving money by making homemade bread -- at least, not compared to what we could spend for the cheapest bread in the grocery store.
I like making bread for taste reasons and for health reasons. Commercial bread has an odd chemical smell to me. One time I tried warming up a few slices of wheat bread (from Aldi) in the oven to go with some soup. The bread was doughy and smelled awful!
And have you ever noticed that loaves of bread from the store just don't mold anymore? Seriously. I have had loaves from Aldi (which has the cheapest price -- the price I compare my bread to) that sat here for three weeks and beyond -- even a month after the expiration date on the bag, the bread still hadn't shown any signs of aging, aside from being slightly dry. But only slightly dry.
And the taste of fresh homemade bread, well, the $1.49 loaves at Aldi just can't compare.
Health reasons -- I won't go into all of those here, but I feel as though my homemade 100% whole wheat bread just as healthy or healthier than any loaves you can buy in the store -- and comparable loaves would cost $4+ each -- if we're comparing taste and quality.
Those of you who make your bread, I'd love to hear your take on this topic! Why do you choose to make homemade bread? Do you eat both homemade and store-bought? Is the time you put into it worth the savings and health benefits -- or do you feel like you're "just breaking even"? :)