Basic homemade bread costs less than commercial loaves, especially bakery-style loaves.
However, it’s relatively easy to spend a significant amount of money on homemade bread if you’re not paying attention to the cost of high-quality and/or organic flours.
It goes without saying that, whenever possible, avoid paying shipping costs for flours you purchase online. The cost of delivery can easily double the original price of your flour.
If your flour source requires a minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping, determine what supplies you’ll need for three or four months and stock to help reduce the overall cost of your bread.
If you prefer the quality and/or results of using a higher cost flour, consider the option of blending a more expensive product with one you can purchase at a lower price.
For instance, I love using bread flour. However, it is often nearly twice as expensive as all-purpose flour. To find a happy medium, I started mixing bread flour and all-purpose flour half and half. It’s all organic, the all-purpose flour cuts the total cost by at least 50 percent, and I’m still delighted with my bread.
When you're really pinching pennies, there’s no reason all-purpose flour – at less than half the cost of bread flour – won’t produce a highly satisfactory loaf of bread. In fact, you may find you can use just a bit less all-purpose flour in your recipe. Experiment with it a bit and see what works best.
If like me, you appreciate sprouted grains and flours, there are a couple of ways to incorporate them into your bread baking with busting your budget.
You will save the most if you’re willing to sprout your own grains. This requires careful monitoring of the grain as it’s germinating and a process for thoroughly drying it once it is sprouted. It may be possible to sprout just the amount of grain you need for a recipe and immediately use it in your baking. I need to test that out!
If you’re less adventurous, you can save money by purchasing whole sprouted grains. There is a difference in cost between sprouted grains and sprouted organic grains. Organic products are generally more pricey. For me, they’re well worth it.
It literally takes seconds to grinding grains to produce flour. About 30 seconds per half cup. You need some 3.5 cups for a loaf of bread, so you’ll spend around 5 minutes grinding grain. And you will love the flavor!
If neither sprouting your own grain nor grinding whole grain appeals, it’s easy to mix the more expensive flour with something less costly and still have a high-quality bread that fits your budget.
You might also consider replacing a higher cost item (i.e., meat) for a meal that consists of whole grain bread and nut butter or eggs, vegetable or bean soup, etc. The money saved by substituting the cheaper, yet highly nutritious bread could be used to help pay for flour.
Overall, you may find that homemade bread provides so many health benefits to you and your family and saves so much in comparison to purchasing bakery-style breads that no flour is off limits in terms of costs.
Find more of Loretta Sorensen’s recipes, bread baking tips, bread-making videos and her book at www.bakeyourbestever.com and her YouTube channel, Bake Your Best Ever. Her book, Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!contains recipes and a wealth of baking pointers. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest (Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever).