77 comments

My $750 Bread Making Machine

Some consumer products become the butt of many jokes, because they are often bought in a fit of good intentions, but then discarded almost immediately. Treadmills and exercise bikes are in this category, as are juice extractors and bread machines.

So you can understand the hesitation I felt three years ago, when the temptation to own a bread machine of my own started growing within me.

The justification in my mind was that we were eating a lot of bread at the time, and hey, who doesn’t like fresh bread?

So I let the idea sit and rise for a while, and meanwhile the Mrs. and I went over to dinner at the home of some friends one night. These friends are a sophisticated and frugal couple from Holland who had just moved to the US.

They served us an exotic spicy vegetarian meal that was insanely delicious, with a slice of steaming seed-encrusted fresh-baked bread on the side. ¬†“Damn!”, my wife and I said, “We need to start eating more like you two!”. The table immediately broke into two discussions – the ladies debated the merits of various vegetarian recipes, and the men went to the garage to learn about this whole bread machine deal.

What I learned is that a bread machine is not necessarily a failed consumer product to be scoffed at. In the right hands, it is an instrument of Supreme Frugal Gourmetitude. “You just throw in some flour and a few other things”, explained my European friend, “and you have a great loaf of bread in just a few hours. Since you eat the bread each day, you are forced to make more several times per week. There is no chance of not using the machine regularly, so I do not understand why these machines are often abandoned in the United States.”

I love how Dutch people explain things, by the way. It is as if in their country, logic and reason are actually practiced by a majority of the population. (?!). When you add the cool accent, you have a very persuasive group of people.

With this new endorsement from a logical person, I had a peek on Craigslist. Sure enough, there were dozens of almost-new bread machines out there. I was able to find one right in my own town, at a price of $10 (the original value of this particular machine was around $100).

Three years into ownership, I must say that this machine is still a huge hit. First of all, the cost savings are significant: to buy a good-quality loaf of whole wheat bread in the grocery store costs about $2.50. To put in flour, yeast, olive oil, water, salt and sugar costs me about 50 cents to get an equivalent sized loaf of bread, with flour purchased in 50-pound bags from Costco. The time investment is also miniscule – without any special preparation, I timed myself in measuring the ingredients into the machine and pressing ‘START’ last time I made bread: 90 seconds. If you factor in the time needed to walk to the bread section of your store and pick out loaves during regular grocery shopping, the net time cost might even be zero. Plus I prevent a plastic bag from being manufactured as well.

So I’ve been saving two bucks per loaf, two loaves per week, for about 3 years. That’s $600 in bread money that is now part of the ‘Stash. Plus the bread is much more delicious, and you can even get crazy and make fancy bread – at various times I have made more decadent types such as my “Beer, Cheese, Bacon and Olive” bread. That stuff is baad~asss. You can throw in flax seeds, sesame seeds, even random crickets and ants from your back yard if you want to get really International/African with your recipes. Olive Ant Bread. Could be quite interesting.

BUT WAIT!! There is an even more exciting contribution this $10 machine has made to my life. It has completely eliminated the temptation to order pizza. Nowadays, I make the pizza dough in the machine, and roll it out into enormous thin-crust sheets which I bury in gourmet ingredients. It is just ridiculously delicious. I also make little personal 8″ pizza crusts by the dozen and freeze them. These are whipped out every afternoon and made into near-instant pizzas as lunch or after-school snacks for my little son. If you have a party at your house where pizza is in demand, you roll out some big fancy crusts and let the guests create their own edible works of art. It is a highly sociable alternative to ordering pizza that improves upon the experience in every way.

It’s hard to estimate how much cash this machine has saved me. At a minimum, it would be $600 in bread plus a a random allocation of $150 for pizza savings: $750. More realistically, we used to order pizza at least once a month at about $20 including tax, tip, and delivery. Nowadays, the raw ingredients cost $6 for a giant pizza. 3 years x 12 pizzas x $14 in savings per pizza is actually $504 worth of pizza, making this machine worth a total of over a grand so far. Regardless of the actual numbers, I am a happy Mustachian.

When it boils down to it, a bread maker is just another motorized consumer product that a true minimalist would scoff at. But in my own odd life which combines both frugality and decadence, I have found this device to be quite a worthy contributor to the family. If you eat bread and/or pizza regularly, I can safely recommend having a peek at your local Craig’s if you want to dip a toe into the breadmaking world as well.

*** Bonus Epilogue Section! ***
This article ended up gathering an unexpected number of views and comments. I figured I should update it with the following useful tips to make it more useful:

Once you get your machine, you will be excited to try it out right away, as I was. I walked into my standard grocery store (Safeway or Kroger) and picked up some whole wheat flour and breadmaking yeast. But when I did the math on the per-loaf cost, I was spending almost as much as the commercial bread! Why was this?

It’s because these ingredients vary widely in price. In the grocery store, they try to sell tiny 4 ounce jars of bread making yeast for $5.29 or so. In Costco/Sam’s club, you can get a 32-ounce double bag for a this price – maybe even less! Similarly, my local Safeway grocery store likes to display boutiquey-looking 3-5lb whole wheat flour in small bags for $5 bucks.. while Sam’s club was selling 50-pound bags of whole wheat for $15 or so when I last visited. Even Kroger (known in Colorado as “King Sooper’s”), sometimes has their store brand whole wheat flour for $1.79 per 5-lb bag. Since this ingredient can be stored forever, just stock up to infinity when you see it at this price.

The other ingredients (sugar, salt, oil, assorted seeds and grains) are fairly low cost at any store, but Costco still rules.

¬†Update – almost two years later: Although Mrs. MM and I no longer eat wheat these days (she became gluten intolerant and we both moved to more of a Mark’s Daily Apple style of low-carb eating), this bread machine still gets used regularly. My son still requires fresh-made Dad’s pizza, and we make the odd loaf of gluten-free bread whenever we need the magical weight-gaining properties that bread seems to provide for us.

  • Ryan September 8, 2011, 6:45 am

    I think you missed other costs – for example the cost of electricity? Cost of cleaning materials to clean?

    Other than that, great article and you now have me shopping on Amazon for one :)

    Reply
    • MMM September 8, 2011, 8:56 am

      I appreciate the question, Ryan, but you won’t catch Mr. Money Mustache in a calculation error THAT easily!!

      I did measure the power consumption of my bread machine for a complete baking cycle using a my kill-a-watt energy meter when I first got it. It was only 0.4 kWh for the entire cycle. That’s only about 5 cents of electricity, a negligible amount.

      As for cleaning materials, I use about 1 litre of cold tap water and my fingertips to clean the non-stick interior and paddle of the baking pan. The water is 1/8 of one cent and my fingers are free to use. Perhaps even a negative cost since I get a small forearm workout from the wiggling action, boosting my health slightly ;-)

      Amazon, eh? I see from your email address that you are in the UK. Is there no Craigslist in your area?

      Reply
      • CMM January 22, 2012, 2:42 pm

        Didn’t I read that you and Mrs. M were going gluten free… more protein and no bread..??? I’ll buy your bread machine for $5.. LOL

        Reply
      • Tom February 14, 2012, 5:26 am

        Gumtree.com is the place to go in the UK

        Reply
  • Kathy P. September 8, 2011, 6:59 am

    Are you certain you aren’t eating more bread than if you would if you were still eating store-bought? In my experience, homemade bread is SO superior that many folks tend to eat a lot more of it than they would have if they’d stuck with factory bread. Which, depending on the degree of homemade bread addiction, could really throw off your calculations. You might spend more on homemade bread than you’d have spent on factory bread, even if the per-loaf cost of homemade is lower.

    Speakin’ from experience here.

    Reply
  • newbie September 8, 2011, 7:05 am

    @ Kathy P — even if MMM is eating more bread-maker bread vs store bought, he is likely displacing some other store bought item for consumption of the bread-maker bread, so it could be close to a wash in terms of expense.

    Reply
    • MMM September 8, 2011, 9:02 am

      Newbie is correct in this calculation. In fact, since home-made bread is one of the cheapest things you can eat on a cost-per-calorie basis, you’d end up saving money on groceries by eating more bread since you would displace something more expensive.

      But, of course, bread of any sort is pretty fattening. Even if you eat 100% whole wheat as I do, you are still getting quite a load of finely ground carbohydrates which your body is very efficient at storing. Because of this, I only eat a slice or so per day myself, and focus more on caveman-style whole foods and nuts for most of my calories. But my 5-year-old, who is a tall and skinny picky eater and needs all the calories he can get, more than takes up the slack in whole wheat bread and pizza consumption.

      The Mrs. used to eat a lot of bread, but then discovered a pretty strong gluten sensitivity, so now she eats only gluten-free food. As Tomas points out, you can make gluten-free bread in a bread machine drastically cheaper than the $5 per loaf that stuff costs at a store. Especially if you get your fancy Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour and xanthan gum and whatnot at Costco. That’s the place to get 50-lb bags of flour and one-pounders of yeast as well.

      Reply
  • Tomas September 8, 2011, 7:23 am

    I eat gluten free and I just realized that I save lots of monies!!!
    MMM, you made my day!

    Reply
  • Kevin M September 8, 2011, 9:20 am

    Beer, cheese and bacon bread? You have my attention. We used to bake our own bread weekly but it was so time consuming. I may need to look into this…I think my parents have an old bread machine they might not be using. Hmmm…

    Reply
  • Fu Manchu September 8, 2011, 10:19 am

    Craigslist Bread Maker Google Alert – created! For those without bread machines, here’s a very easy no-knead recipe I do:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/dining/211brex.html

    It’s more of, say, ten minutes of total work, so not as simple. I do it every Sunday and it yields two loaves. But the bread machine is definitely now on my radar…

    Reply
  • Katie September 8, 2011, 11:05 am

    I’ve wanted a bread maker for quite some time. My desire to own one is more due to the health benefits – I’m pretty sure I could make a tastier, healthier bread than what can be bought in a supermarket. But, I just don’t think we eat enough bread to justify the purchase (about a loaf per month), so I still haven’t pulled the trigger.

    I have a question, though – what exactly does the machine do to make pizza dough? We spend a fair amount on frozen and take out pizza, so I’d love to cut down that cost. But, besides mixing the ingredients together and letting the dough rise, does a bread machine have benefits over just doing that yourself?

    Reply
    • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple September 8, 2011, 11:42 am

      Not really, it’s the same. But if you are like me…I tried to master pizza dough the old fashioned way. Took me 5-10 tries to get it right (couldn’t get the water temp right). Eventually I mastered it! Then started using the machine. It’s just easier.

      Reply
    • MMM September 8, 2011, 12:58 pm

      I must admit, I don’t know exactly what this magical machine does, and in a way, that is the point. For bread, I press “whole wheat bread”. For dough, I press “dough”. It saves me time by automating the process, while costing nothing since the machine was only $10. (Also, the tiny built-in oven in a bread machine uses FAR less electricity/gas than a big kitchen oven.)

      To really answer your question, the machine is doing a measured amount of kneading at measured time intervals, and carefully keeping the temperature at exactly what is needed for optimal yeast rising. So while it may be fun to master these things from a human perspective, with a daily staple like bread I feel it is wiser to free up your time for larger scale money-making-and-saving activities.

      Reply
  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple September 8, 2011, 11:39 am

    I love the bread machine. My husband HAD to have one when we got hitched in ’96, so he used some of our wedding money to buy one ($125 or thereabouts). We used it off and on over the years…we’d use it steadily for months, then not at all for a few years. I’d say that a few years ago, we really got into it again and used it weekly.

    Then it broke, after about 11 years. We bought a new one, but wouldn’t you know, the EXACT same model ended up on freecycle not one week later. Bummer. Still, even purchasing new we’ve gotten our money’s worth. I have a favorite recipe that is multi-grain sunflower seed bread.

    Sadly, our costco doesn’t have whole wheat flour. We do buy bread flour there (most of our breads are 3/4 whole wheat, 1/4 bread flour). And of course, yeast. I love using our bread machine for pizza dough also. One batch makes 3 medium shells. One shell feeds us for 1 meal plus lunch leftovers for one or two. One slice is pretty low-cal too, if you are like me and over 40 and trying to lose a few pounds.

    Any chance you will provide a recipe for your bacon-beer-cheese bread? I’ve made rye-beer bread. I know the ingredient amounts will change by the brand of machine.

    As far as true minimalist or not, I’ve argued that on other sites. “Why would you have a bread machine? You can use a stand mixer or a food processer! It’s easy! It doesn’t take any longer!”

    Yes but…for me (a working mom), making bread any other way takes about 5 hours from start until the loaves are out of the oven. If I were to make it the regular way, I’d need a 5 hr stretch to at least be around to knead and such, which only occurs on weekends. (Or last Friday, when I took the day off to be “mom”, and baked bread while my son was at kindergarten). Bread machine? Pop in the ingredients and wake up to fresh bread in the morning.

    Reply
  • CeridianMN September 8, 2011, 11:48 am

    We got our breadmaker from Goodwill, or the Salvation Army, for $4 or so. They let us plug it in at the store to make sure it powered up. I found the instruction booklet online. I’m not sure what it cost new, but it works quite well for us. We have only had it for a couple months now and try to keep our carb intake down to help me (I need to lose more weight thatn I like to admit) so we aren’t using it to the level of MMM. I do know that we’ve probably broken even by now taking into account buying ingredients and the bread maker itself. I’ve started to look for a food dehydrator whenever I wander through those stores now. (Of course, we might also use a couple of dept store gift cards we got for a place we don’t generally shop.)

    Reply
  • jessica w. September 8, 2011, 12:00 pm

    It funny, I have been using a bread maker for over 3 years now, and I prefer to make doughs in them. I grew up in germany, and a lot of the rolls.bread, and steamed items I like I make in the dough setting. Then prepare the rest fo the time and bake per the recipe. It saves so much time and effort since it controls the rising time and temperature perfectly. I just throw the stuff in, and go on with life until it is done. I never thought about it saving me much money since I can’t buy those items here in the US anyway.

    Reply
  • CrazyMom September 8, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Hot damn! I’ve been making my own bread for months now and came up with the same calculations as you, MMM! Our family goes through roughly 3 loaves per week, give or take, as some weeks are doughy-er than others. So I make a batch that yeilds 3 loaves per week, and I slice and wrap up one, refrigerate the second, and freeze the 3rd. As we get through each loaf, I rotate and slice the fridge loaf (easier to slice the room temp bread) and move the frozen loaf to the fridge to thaw. We save so much money and nothing beats the smell of home baked bread.

    I will add that even if you didn’t own a bread-maker (which is my situation), and made it by hand, you would get a fantastic MMM-worthy tricep workout from 10 minutes of kneading!!

    Here’s a great recipe for non-bread machine aspiring bakers:
    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/simple-whole-wheat-bread/Detail.aspx

    And I posted about my initial findings on the recipe on my blog:
    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/simple-whole-wheat-bread/Detail.aspx

    Reply
  • Katie September 8, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Any brand recommendations? Or particular features to look for? I just checked out our Craigslist and found two for sale, but both seemed too expensive ($40-50, when I can get a new one for $50-60).

    Reply
  • Bakari Kafele September 8, 2011, 3:49 pm

    So, to distill this post down to its essence: what you are telling me is that I should keep the breadmaker I just got in a hauling run, instead of selling it (which was my previous plan).

    I must say, you have some remarkable timing!

    Reply
    • MMM September 8, 2011, 8:55 pm

      I dunno, Brother B, I’d hate to be the one responsible for cluttering up your efficient little home with such a bulky item. If you do currently buy bread, it will save you money. But for small-dwelling folks there is the tradeoff of having to store the machine as well as many pounds of flour.

      In my case, I still have the large house with an attached garage, so the bread machine has plenty of room to roam (note I consider even my own kitchen countertop space to be too small to sacrifice any to this machine, so the garage is where I make bread).

      Just thought I should throw in the minimalist’s side of the argument.

      Reply
  • pka September 9, 2011, 3:27 am

    My bread machine is the counter top and muscle – 25 minutes of labor for a weeks worth of bread- plus the crusts are yummy crusty, same goes for fresh pasta and pizza crust- just mix, kneed rise and bake. It does take a little time but since I don’t watch TV I have some to spare and the feel of smooth dough is awesome as is the flavor.

    Reply
    • MMM September 9, 2011, 8:54 am

      Excellent! Mr. Money Mustache loves it when he is out-badassed by his own readers!

      I agree with you that you can really get to enjoy the bread-kneading, which is a nice way to spend some meditative time and pump up your triceps as well. And as a general life strategy, all you need is a complete suite of satisfying activities where you expend effort and produce things you enjoy, which don’t involve a large amount of consumption or money spending, and you have attained True Happiness.. If you combine this with a few years of earning income and saving it, you can throw in early retirement and riches to boot.

      So why did I promote the bread machine instead of breadmaking by hand in this post? Because I believe it is helpful to get started with easy steps. Anyone can grab a used bread machine for $10-$30 and start benefiting immediately – without having to re-work their lifestyle at all to free up time. The money savings and gradual shift from consumption to production will start to grow on people. We will gradually displace the standard habits of people with more enjoyable and frugal ones, and they will enjoy it so much that the habits start to build upon themselves. Within a few years, these people will find they are completely busy having fun but yet are spending only 25% of what they used to spend –> a Mustachian is trained!

      Reply
  • Hannha September 9, 2011, 8:03 am

    I used to have a breadmaker and used it a lot. After awhile, though, I got tired of the breadmaker crust (it tends to be thicker than a loaf baked in the oven) so I started using it just to knead. Now I have a stand mixer, which gets used for a lot more things, and passed the breadmaker on to someone else. It is a great tool, though, if you can’t be home to watch it. The stand mixer isn’t any more work than using the dough cycle, though.

    Reply
  • Jenny September 9, 2011, 2:22 pm

    And to think I’ve been making it the old fashioned way with an oven this whole time. I wanted one but put it off. I found one on craigslist today and am picking it up this afternoon. I hated how the oven would heat up the whole house in the summer, so a bread machine really is a better solution, and I’ve found a lot of recipes online that are for a bread machine than the old fashioned way anyway. I’ll probably do it more often now and not jump all over my family when they eat it up quickly forcing me to make more!!!

    Reply
  • Flea September 10, 2011, 10:14 pm

    i have one already! .. it is sitting right next to the food dehydrator right out in the storage building … i always get so wrapped up in the ‘got to go’ mentality that i forget about just making some things myself.

    Reply
  • TOM September 12, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Your Costco sells bread (or whole wheat) flour? I just bought a 25lb bag of AP flour but didn’t see any other types (i have a kickass pizza dough recipe that calls for bread flour) :-/

    must be a regional thing

    Reply
    • MMM September 12, 2011, 12:48 pm

      Good point, Tom. It was Sam’s Club that used to sell me 50lb bags of whole wheat, and Costco, foolishly enough, does not carry this. Ever since the Sam’s club in my region shut down, I have switched to buying it at a good local grocery store (King Sooper’s, a clone of City Market) which occasionally has 5-lb bags on sale for about $1.80. MMM readers should band together and email Costco to request that they start selling the good stuff!

      Reply
  • et September 13, 2011, 10:20 pm

    Since you are saving so much using the machine, would you consider stepping up from costco flour to organic and/or local flour?
    What about buying whole grain and grinding it? I did this and figured the grinder paid for itself in a year. It also allows lots more variety and makes fresh flour.

    Reply
  • Fu Manchu September 14, 2011, 9:00 am

    Nabbed one for $12 at the local thrift store. Already used it three times…the winning recipe:
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/flax-and-sunflower-seed-bread/detail.aspx

    One cool thing nobody’s mentioned: you can set it to a timer! Waking up to a cup of coffee and homemade bread, already made. Love this modern life.

    Reply
    • MMM September 14, 2011, 9:15 am

      That is Excellent News Fu Manchu. I checked out that recipe and it looks good to me as well. I will duplicate it here, since that allrecipes site popped up an annoying ad in my face and MMM readers probably just want recipes rather than ads :-)

      Flax and Sunflower Seed Bread
      Original Recipe Yield 1 – 1 1/2 pound loaf
      Ingredients

      1 1/3 cups water
      2 tablespoons butter, softened
      3 tablespoons honey
      1 1/2 cups bread flour
      1 1/3 cups whole wheat bread flour
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon active dry yeast
      1/2 cup flax seeds
      1/2 cup sunflower seeds
      Directions

      Place all ingredients (except sunflower seeds) in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select basic white cycle; press start. Add the sunflower seeds when the alert sounds during the knead cycle.

      Reply
      • Fu Manchu September 14, 2011, 11:07 am

        Fair enough & I will consider that in the future. And yes, definitely try that recipe.

        For what it’s worth, I replaced the butter with olive oil and used 2tbsp honey instead of 3, it’s absolutely fantastic and a bit healthier. It makes a mean PB&J!

        Reply
      • Dustin September 20, 2011, 8:15 am

        I wanted to say thank you for your bread machine post, it got me motivated to get a bread machine (for free from mom) and start making bread.

        My problem is that I can’t seem to find a cheap recipe for making bread. I have been making this whole wheat honey bread, which is very tasty, but with the included honey, it probably is about a dollar a loaf.

        Can you share your recipe that you use, or point me in the right direction?

        Reply
        • MMM September 20, 2011, 8:34 am

          Hi Dustin – I just added a little Epilogue section at the end of the article regarding finding nicely priced ingredients. Honey would follow this same rule – buy it at Costco, or just substitute brown sugar which is also quite tasty and almost free, if the difference in cost is a concern. I usually use brown sugar myself, although right now I am fortunate to be working my way through a giant jug of honey I received as a gift from a local bee keeping friend.

          Reply
          • Dustin September 20, 2011, 10:04 am

            Thanks for the reply! After I use up my honey I’ll give brown sugar a try. I made my initial purchases at a Kroger/Fiesta at marked up prices, when I use them up I’ll do the math on using a 50 pound bag of wheat flour.

            Do you have any problems with bugs getting into your flour? That was something my mom warned me against.

            Reply
            • MMM September 20, 2011, 10:07 am

              Hmm.. never seen a bug in my own flour, but it may depend on your climate/geography, and where you store the bag. In my high-altitude dry area, bugs of any sort are rare. In the worst case, you can keep it safe in a giant tupperware bin with a tight lid, in your pantry or closet or garage.

              Reply
          • AGil October 17, 2011, 12:33 pm

            Dustin, bugs are a big problem in my neck of the woods. The giant Tupperware is a must. I break it down into smaller containers since I already have them. I was made fun of for buying 25lbs of rice. It’s ok, I laugh all the way to the bank with my savings.

            Reply
          • AGil October 23, 2011, 11:51 am

            Might want to freeze it for a few days before putting in that bin, check this article out. It seems like the bugs or eggs might already be in the product, so beware.

            http://lifehacker.com/5852404/freeze-grains-to-avoid-weevils

            I just threw a 10 lb bag or flour into my chest freezer to avoid this. I have had it happen once so and it will not again!

            Reply
        • Becky O. August 2, 2013, 3:40 pm

          Dustin – -I realize this reply is waaaaay in the future, but when I bought my used bread machine sans users manual, I simply googled my bread machine manufacturer & serial # I found on the bottom. I was able to print the whole manual out from a PDF for free!

          It has several recipes, from the most basic to more fancy breads and dough.

          Reply
  • jessica w. September 20, 2011, 10:13 am

    If you store your flour in an air tight container or freeze it,then you should be able to not have issues with bugs.

    Reply
    • Dustin September 20, 2011, 1:12 pm

      Okay I’ll see if I can get a decent sized airtight container for 50 pounds of flour. Thanks for the advice!

      Reply
      • ladymaier September 20, 2011, 1:27 pm

        Dustin,

        I’ve been told the 20 gallon ziploc bags happily hold a 50lb bag of flour. And if you want something sturdy to prop the bag up in, probably a cheap trashcan will do.

        If you want something a bit more involved, there’s also the airtight pet food containters that can be purchased at Petsmart and Petco. Some of the larger ones even have casters!

        Reply
  • Brave New Life September 26, 2011, 7:58 pm

    My mom is in town this week, and she doesn’t understand my plans of early retirement or frugality. She is the epitome of a Puritan work ethic.

    The one argument over the past 2 weeks is the quality of food we’ve been making, cheaper, healthier, and better tasting. Tonight I think we won her over with our homemade pizza, including bread from the bread machine. (You didn’t mention it, but I hope you are grilling the pizza because it’s waaay better)

    You can also make fun things like soft pretzels and sopapillas – which not only tastes great for cheap, but is a fun project for the kids. Everyone wins!

    Reply
    • MMM September 26, 2011, 8:59 pm

      Grilling the Pizza!? On the barbecue? That sounds like fun, I’ve never tried it.

      If this provides me with a new and even more delicious way to make pizza, this blog will have just paid for itself yet again.

      Reply
      • Brave New Life September 27, 2011, 9:38 am

        Yep,on the barbecue. We make the crust thin, preheat the grill, and cook it on a sheet of aluminum foil (optional, but my preference). It cooks really fast, just 2-4 minutes usually.

        We used to cook it in the oven, but once we used the grill there was no going back.

        Reply
        • bwall February 10, 2014, 12:54 pm

          You can also bake bread on the grill. Make sure the temperature is high enough, brush on some olive oil and you’ll never go back.

          Reply
      • AGil October 17, 2011, 6:23 pm

        https://picasaweb.google.com/107651420073805743691/PublicScrapBook#5664618610016423938

        I have done this a few times and have come to a few conclusions:

        .5 – about 1/4 sourdough sponge adds delicious flavor.
        http://carlsfriends.net/
        If not just let the dough sit for at least 24 hours to develop the bread taste from the yeast multiplication.
        1 – heat up stone fairly hot on grill and pre-bake both sides of crust.
        2 – place sauce and cheese or anything else on crust then place directly on grill.
        3 – use the stretch and fold method instead of a machine, its faster and easier with much less cleanup.
        4 – for ultimate frugality hook up the grill to a natural gas supply as propane is uber expensive. No need to buy special burners, just drill them out for a higher flow rate due to cooler burning natural gas.

        I also freeze the crusts. Then laugh at people buying $5 pre-made crusts at the supermarket. Buaha ha ha ha…

        Reply
  • Kasia September 28, 2011, 8:34 pm

    I showed my boyfriend this post and he got so excited we drove down to Boulder, got our own machine for $10 and now he’s pulling out ingredients we already had to make his first loaf of bread!

    Reply
  • C.L. October 15, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Interesting post. I am very frugal with the exception of two things, only one of which I can help. This blog is very interesting to me.

    I never thought of bread making for savings, since I didn’t buy bread before making it myself for the entertainment and enjoyment of making it. After about a year of making dough and baking pizza and bread, I continue to be amazed at the lack of publicity about simple dough-making methods that don’t require tons of time or labor.

    There’s no-knead bread, which has some publicity. The main issue there is you need at least a day to let the dough knead itself out. There is a minute chance of contaminating the dough with something nasty in that time period (unless, I think, you are using a sourdough starter). That’s not very likely, and you will get a good result.

    My preferred option is to hand-knead using a very lazy method. I measure out the ingredients first (a scale is a necessity in my opinion, not only for consistency but also because you can then think of recipes in baker’s percents and learn the function of every ingredient, and how the functions vary with differing amounts. That allows for quick scaling and before you know it you can make your own recipes.) I then dissolve either my starter or some baker’s yeast in the water, mix the salt and flour in a dry bowl and then add it to the water. I mix by hand so that there’s no dry flour left. I then cover, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Then I fold the dough on itself, picking up from a corner and stretching on top. I do this about 20 times, rotating the bowl so that I cover a different strip every time. I cover again, then repeat the process until the dough is smooth. If this is the amount of dough for one loaf, I shape it and let it rise in the wicker basket. If it’s more than one loaf, I let it bulk rise, and then divide, ball and shape once the dough has risen sufficiently. It then needs to rise in the basket so it bakes properly with the right structure. The whole process takes maybe 15 minutes of actual work, if that, but is spread over several hours depending on the amount of yeast and the temperature. Baking is another 30 minutes or so. I don’t get most bread recipes that call for a ton of yeast, 20 minutes of intensive kneading, rise followed by punch down (something I never understood at all) and shaping without rests.

    I like to use a sourdough starter, which is free for the cost of a stamp from Carl’s Friends (google it) if you don’t want the trouble of making your own. After you get it going, the cost is the cost of a small amount of flour and water every week or so. Most recipes use a ton of starter for some reason. It’s not very efficient and you could clog up your drain pipe with wasted starter. The better way is to keep a tiny amount of starter in the fridge that you refresh every week or two. The actual amount doesn’t really matter, because it will more or less work the same as long as your proportions are the same. Its purpose is to keep the culture alive. When you actually are going to bake, you take a tiny amount of that (10 grams, tops) and mix it with flour and water to get it to a more useful amount. The tiny amount of starter will culture the new flour and water into something you can use in your actual recipe. You’ve just saved yourself from wasting a ton of flour and water. You can also stop buying yeast, since you are culturing your own. If you don’t like sourdough flavor, there are ways of minimizing it while still using the sourdough yeast (by using techniques to minimize the acid production by the bacteria while maximizing yeast activity).

    If you prefer the convenience of baker’s yeast, this is my failsafe recipe:
    300 grams flour (whatever kind of white flour you like)
    200 grams water (tap is fine)
    6 grams salt (any kind)
    1/8th to 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (less if using instant yeast). You can use less yeast if you let it sit longer. It will probably be a bit better-tasting since the extended fermentation lets it build up more acids.

    The added plus of less yeast is you avoid that MSG-y dead yeast taste and smell. Some people don’t seem to notice that but it drove me insane until I figured out it was from the grotesque amounts of yeast most recipes recommend.

    Warm up water a bit (optional). Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix flour and salt in a dry bowl (not strictly necessary) Mix all the flour+salt and the water by hand so there is no dry flour left. It will still be rough. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Stretch and fold (see my notes above, or google it) for a few minutes. Cover and let sit again. Stretch and fold again. If the dough is smooth at this point (no tears), shape into a ball or oblong shape if using a rectangular basket. Dust the basket and outside of the dough ball with semolina. Lay in basket, check for sticking. Cover the basket and let rise. Heat oven with stone to 450F. Once the stone is up to temperature, drop the bread on the stone (or transfer with a peel, which is safer), slash the top and cover the stone with a upside down metal mixing bowl. (This traps the steam from baking so that you get a nice crust. You can also use a dutch oven or combo cooker for this. I used the bowl because I already had a good-ish stone. You just need something big enough to cover the bread, but small enough so it fits entirely on the stone) After 20 minutes, remove the bowl. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until it is a nice brown color. Check the internal temperature if you like. It should be around 200-210F.

    Let cool for at least an hour before eating.

    If this sounds complicated, trust me, it is not.

    Variations: use whole wheat flour. The more whole wheat flour, the more water you have to use for the same consistency. Whole wheat flour should be stored in the freezer in an airtight container, or the oils in the germ go rancid. I’ve only had this happen once, but it’s worth the trouble to keep it fresh if you’re buying in bulk.

    Reply
    • C.L. October 15, 2011, 1:40 pm

      Lest I forget, since this is a post about cheap, used bread machines I should note that my method does require a good baking stone, which will probably run about $30 online. So, the bread machine is probably cheaper if you can get it as cheap as it seems most people here have. Gas is included in my rent so I don’t factor in the cost of heating the oven. Also, since my kitchen is small I stopped buying dedicated machines for things like this, and since I enjoy the manual method it works well for me.

      The dough making process works well for pizza dough, too, and the stone helps for that as well.

      But, who knows, maybe one person who reads this will be inspired to try it and maybe learn something new and enjoyable that doesn’t cost too much.

      Reply
  • AGil October 16, 2011, 5:55 pm

    CL, you are correct the “stretch and fold” method is simply fantastic. I am ashamed I purchased a used kitchen aid on eBay for bread making only to find this method works better and is actually easier! I make pizza, pretzels and bread with this methods. I works every time and is downright fun. These videos are fantastic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1timJlCT3PM

    I am surprised this method is little known, you can really make hundreds of loaves with it in a few hours with little work.

    Reply
  • Jeff October 25, 2011, 12:31 pm

    I tried a bread machine. The bread always turned out fairly generic, and you certainly don’t get the right kind of crust compared to putting it in an oven. I use a mixer to make my own dough and it can sit in the refrigerator for weeks (it actually gets better with age) or in the freezer indefinitely. I just pull out a glob of dough when I want it and throw it in the oven. Great point about Costco, though! I thought I was saving money by not buying the individual packets, but now I’ll definitely pick up a giant jar.

    Reply
  • Chris November 7, 2011, 6:41 pm

    You’ve obviously figured out how to make your bread machine work at our altitude (I’m in Louisville, right down the street from you, it appears). Did you make any adjustments?

    I finally gave my bread machine away because it would only make these ultracompact bread “rocks”. It was the vertical kind, and I suspected that may have been the cause… but I’m not sure. What kind of machine are you using?

    Reply
    • MMM November 7, 2011, 6:48 pm

      Yup, I think the key is just having enough gluten in the mix (use at least 25% white flour, or add separate gluten powder for pure whole wheat loaves). Also, I had to increase the salt in the recipe to at least 1.5 TSP, which slows down the yeast (before this, the bread would rise up nice and puffy, then crash during baking.

      Reply
  • darnocpdx November 29, 2011, 11:09 am

    Sorry but I got to disagree. Bread machines like most kitchen small appliances are a waste of money (the only two I can justify is a hand blender with attachments – one with whisks, dough hooks, and blender blades). And a food processor). This includes even a used bread machine.

    Bread is easy, no-kneed recipes abound. They only take a few minutes of actual “work” time. Even just doing do it the traditional ways doesn’t take that long either.

    C.L.s above post is a great example of a couple ways of doing it.

    I have found that nearly all kitchen gadgets are a waste of money. Really the only “gadgets” that I find I need and use on a regular basis is the potato masher (also used for homemade marinara, salsa, soups etc) peeler, cheese grater, and cheese slicer. (the slicer and the grater pay for themselves very quickly–check the price differences between a block of of cheese and the pre-sliced/grated products). Most everything else can be done with a knife or basic kitchen tool.

    Though one of the biggest bangs for your bucks in saving money without a doubt is learning to cook. Once you get good at it you really lose most joy in eating out.

    Reply
    • CG December 3, 2011, 6:55 pm

      So you’re using the argument that the tools you use that paid for themselves very quickly are superior to the tool he is using that also paid for itself very quickly? Fail. How is it a waste of money to learn how to cook bread at home with the help of a machine? Just like your own advice, that’s what the author did!
      I make my breads in my KitchenAid mixer. I gave my $20 bread machine to my sister because I hated the crust on bread machine breads. They make great dough but I already had a machine that could do that.
      I didn’t waste my $20 at all. I saved a couple hundred dollars on breads, rolls and bagels during the two years I owned it. And as the author pointed out, even though I was a avid baker before owning the machine, having a period of my life where I had use of the ease of a machine conditioned my thinking to making more at home and more often.
      Tools are only wasted money when they aren’t used. By actually reading the above post you’ll notice that the machine is used and is saving the author money, lots of money.

      Reply
      • darnocpdx December 4, 2011, 12:28 am

        No you missed my point. The bread machine is a redundant kitchen device.. Anyone that cooks at all has got an oven and a means of mixing dough.. My point is that bread making without a bread machine isn’t difficult or time consuming. And that by adding the machine to the process adds nothing what-so-ever to the end product but extra cost. It doesn’t make it cheaper.

        The tools that I listed are different, they serve specific purposes that no other kitchen tool does, and is cost effective. A one pound block of cheese is more than half the price of cheese that has been sliced or grated at the factory. A cheese slicer for example is better than a knife because it slices the cheese thinner than you could with the knife, meaning you use less cheese per serving thus also making your one pound block last longer.

        Cheese slicer lowers purchase price and lowers per use consumption. Bread machine doesn’t lower the price to make the bread, and as Mr. Mustache admits, now eats more bread. So it not only doesn’t lessen the cost of bread production, it increases consumption.

        Cheese is expensive, bread is not.

        And yes I’ve had a bread machine (it was a wedding gift) and though the end product was better than store bought bread, it still not as good as my artisan breads that I now make. Sure the first few loafs are likely to bomb, but you’ll get it—I did.

        Reply
        • CG December 4, 2011, 4:58 am

          I got rid of mine because, when using it just for the dough, it was a redundant machine. If you bake in it though, you save money over turning on your oven. It’s cheaper to run a small appliance than a big one.
          Sure, making bread without a machine isn’t “time-consuming” by many people’s definitions. But you can’t have missed that the author makes bread in 90 seconds. That’s a lot less than the 15 minutes or so you’d need for bread-making without a bread machine. I know you said a couple of minutes but that is not a likely estimate. I’ve been baking for 25 years and worked in a bakery and restaurant for 3 years. I know how to make bread and how long it takes even with the best tools and best training. If you can really do it that fast, I’d love to see a video of it so we can all learn your technique.
          Standing over a mixer as it mixes and kneads counts as work time because it keeps me from doing anything else productive. Then there’s the cost and time of washing additional dishes(mixing bowl, dough hook, spoons) and oil or butter to grease the loaf pan. The bread machine is set it forget it, one pan to wash.
          Time is as valuable, if not more valuable, than actual money. As a homemaker, I don’t view my time to be as valuable as someone who gets a paycheck. That’s not a statement of self-esteem, just a mind-set. When I was earning a paycheck at a job, I often viewed tasks outside work in a monetary way. Would I do the task if I was getting a paycheck for it? Was the money saved worth the time put in? Now I don’t have any choice. I have to do everything I can all day to save time and money. That’s my job and I can’t attach monetary value to all I do. It doesn’t bother someone with my mindset to spend 15 minutes making bread. I don’t lose motivation just thinking about those 15 minutes of work.
          I think the author may have been motivated by the ease of the machine because he views his time to be very valuable. I know my husband does this. When he thinks of what he earns in 15 minutes at his job and the money saved doing a 15 minutes task at home, he doesn’t see the point. 90 seconds to save $100’s is the kind of motivation people with that mindset need to adapt to frugal ways.

          Reply
          • darnocpdx December 8, 2011, 12:34 am

            Well, for me I like to cook. I do most of it around the house even though I’m the one that goes to work. My wife works at home, but I still like to cook. I find it enjoyable, and the challenge of making good and better food on a budget I find even more enjoyable.

            As for the 15 minutes (more like 5-10 for 2+loafs) I typically do it while other things are cooking. Few meals are cooked in which you aren’t in the kitchen waiting for things to cook, stirring pots, or what not. And it takes nothing but a bowl to some flower, yeast, water, yeast and salt to make the bread. After that it’s just letting it rise, then either making a loaf, another 1 minute. Or set it in the fridge, awaiting to make the loaf later.

            check out the following link (includes a basic recipe):

            http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx

            If you’re using loaf pans for sandwich bread, you can skip the stone and all, Just gotta adjust your bake time. I do use a hand mixer with dough hooks (was a Christmas gift), but it’s not necessary. And as for clean up, my 12 year old and my dishwasher (newer one that uses less water than hand washing) take care of all that just fine. Even if I did the clean up myself by hand, what an extra two minutes, bowl, pan and hooks.

            Surely, if you cook your own meals you can find 5-10 minutes a day to toss all this together between cooking tasks. I do quite easily. It really does take less time than it takes boil noodles.

            Regardless. most people can afford a couple of minutes away from the idiot box for fresh baked bread. It’s one of the oldest food products known to man, and isn’t nearly as complicated as everyone makes it out to be.

            Reply
  • Kevin December 11, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Was *given* a bread machine today, so I am going to try it out. While I have been avoiding bread because of a calorie restriction, I think I will have to increase my exercise to fit in a few slices of home-made over the next few weeks! Also, it seems there is less sugar in home made bread than that purchased at the store anyway.

    Reply
    • MMM December 11, 2011, 8:55 pm

      It’s a tricky one – bread is definitely a weight gain food -even if you make 100% whole wheat without much sugar – because of the high glycemic index, meaning it tends to make you irrationally hungry shortly after eating it and thus your appetite increases.

      I can still recommend it highly for kids or skinny active people, but for anyone with a belly they need to lose, avoiding fluffy carbohydrates like bread and potatoes (and obviously sugars like sodas and juice too), and instead eating foods like nuts, fish, and fruits and vegetables will go a long way towards leaning you down.

      Reply
  • Alan D December 14, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Food is one of those things I tend to go completely fancy with. I think this little guy might knock your tongue’s imported Tibetan Cashmere Socks off

    http://www.amazon.com/Kettle-Pizza-KPB-22-2-Inch-Grills/dp/B005SFJLOI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1323899512&sr=8-2

    Pizza is a cheat day luxury since I’m following this guy’s weight loss method right now.
    http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/about/

    His book 4 hour body was the second book after Think and Grow Rich that I went out and bought after pirating.
    An efficiency minded person would love it.

    I followed it strictly in Jan10 and lost 20lbs net, and 30lb of Gross Fat. Not fad diet either. I spent Feb till thanksgiving stuffing my face with potato skins and pizza to get back up to my former weight. Now I’ve got to be a good boy to get that six pack from Santa and know it’ll be no sweat.

    Reply
  • Pachipres December 20, 2011, 8:07 pm

    Has anyone tried making gluten free bread with egg replacer and not eggs?

    Reply
  • Pachipres December 23, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Does anyone have a cheap version of a gluten free bread recipe without having to buy that Bob Mill’s all ready to go flour?

    Reply
  • John January 11, 2012, 8:06 pm

    Another device to look into: a dehydrator. My brother, who is jobless, went around picking all the fruit he could find in our town and made it into fruit leather in my machine. We ate what we could, but delicious apricots and plums don’t last that long. I am on my second deer that is being made into even more delicious jerky. The deer were both free, by the way, unless you include the cost of a .30-06 round. My wife makes flaxseed crackers for pennies, which sell at health food stores and farmers markers for WAY more than that and granola cereal. She loves that device. Combine that with the vita mix blender, and we make a ton of food at home, including healthy salad dressing.

    Reply
  • Kjnanny January 13, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Could easily start a whole new blog on $$ saved in the kitchen! Many moons ago I did special needs daycare in my home. When I visited our friendy tax man he asked, “How can your food bill be so low, when all of my other daycares have food as highest expense?”

    First of all, I was shocked that anyone would have their food bill as their highest expense! Yes, the little critters eat pretty hardy but come on…
    I told our tax man that I fed the kids and my family all home-made and non-processed foods. I am talking about good home cooking, not the store bought heat in the oven junk. It is amazing how much $$ you save.
    I made everything from chocolate syrup to chicken nuggets. It all taste better too!

    Now we live close to Amish communities that buy organic and non organic foods in bulk, and we got in on that :D So cheap to buy a 25 lb bag of flour and put it in your freezer, while keeping a bucket of it in the cupboard for daily/occasional baking.

    I have two bread machines and both were given to me. I use them just for the dough setting. Another useful tool is a good scale. I also make my own homemade soap – way cheaper as well as very profitable to sell on the side! I have regular customers and don’t need to advertise.

    Great article and comments!! I’ll try out the recipes posted.
    Oh! One lil hint for those that love soft bread and rolls: Go easy on the flour! We peeps seem to want to add flour to stop sticky. A lil sticky is okay.

    Great dinner rolls – my own recipe:

    8 oz of warmed milk (should be warm enough to start melting butter)
    1 stick or half a cup of butter (can use fake hard veggie oil called margarine)
    2 tablespoons of good yeast (I use German brand – can’t read it)
    1 – 1.5 tsp of sea salt
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg (slightly beat it)
    4 (no more no less) cups of white flour

    Put in machine.. enjoy

    Optional: Use 3 cups white flour, 1 cup oat flour, add flax seed once it is balling up.

    Reply
  • Andros February 21, 2012, 10:17 am

    I was looking around for information on what is actually in store bought bread and to my surprise it was difficult to find.

    We used to buy store bread and would go crazy on it until about half way and it would sit there for a week or two.

    Home made bread lasts roughly three days until it starts to mold.

    “Wonder” what’s in there?

    – formaldehyde?
    – eye of newt?
    – metal shavings?
    – bleach ? (how can whole wheat be white?)

    Who knows.

    It’s nice to actually see what you are eating.

    http://blog.fooducate.com/2010/04/02/wonder-bread-deceitful-inside-the-label/

    Reply
  • Luke February 27, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I prefer to make my bread and pizza dough sans machine. I make 4 loaves at a time and they each last about a week; the loaves freeze well. So I spend one Sunday morning per month getting my hands dirty – I find it therapeutic and satisfying.

    I really wanted to mention home roasted coffee. This is really where investment in a machine pays off (if you like good coffee, that is). A couple months ago we stumbled upon a tutorial for using a popcorn air popper for roasting coffee beans. We now enjoy extremely fresh roasted coffee for the cost of that grocery store swill (roasted beans go stale after about 2 weeks). Check out Sweet Maria’s for green coffee beans and info on using an air popper. I like it so much that when the air popper craps out we’ll probably invest in a dedicated roaster to do a two week supply at one time. Don’t forget to learn how to properly brew that fresh stuff – wouldn’t want to want to go and ruin it with a Mr. Coffee machine!

    Reply
  • MZ April 28, 2012, 9:19 am

    Amen! I love my bread machine and make bread at least 2 or 3 times a week – and it makes the best pizza dough. Who would eat crappy store-bought bread when you can have fresh bread and toast in thick hearty slices!

    Reply
  • Heath July 3, 2012, 6:32 am

    I just looked through all of these comments, and I can’t believe nobody has brought this up yet: which specific make/model of bread machine do you use MMM? What about other people from the MMM community? Does it even really matter (i.e. are they all basically the same)?

    Reply
  • hands2work September 20, 2012, 3:36 pm

    If you want a new back yard project MMM, my cousin and her husband built themselves a brick pizza oven in their backyard! Their homemade pizza is the bomb!!!

    Reply
  • Saverslave January 1, 2013, 2:16 pm

    But how is the math in terms of old-fashioned baking in a conventional oven? I bake 6 bread per baking, which I put in the freezer. With a baking machine you just make one loaf at a time. Then you have to take the power consumption and multiply it by 6, to see if the power consumption is profitable? Would I save $ by changing to a baking machine?

    Reply
    • Andre O January 3, 2013, 10:53 am

      If you’re making bread from scratch keep doing it.
      I have found homemade bread to be superior to machined bread.

      I think there are three / four tiers to savings and delicious-ism.

      Savings
      1) scratch
      2) bread machine
      3) grocery store bought
      4) bakery (pricey, but probably the most delicious)

      I think the bread machine is a good transition to making your own and saving some money. Not everyone is crafty in the kitchen, but if you are, then embrace it and consider selling some of your products to friends and neighbours.

      Reply
  • LastBestPlace February 15, 2013, 8:59 pm

    If you have any Amish (Hutterites, Mennonites, general anabaptists in interesting headgear) in the neighborhood, they’re a great source of inexpensive and healthy bread ingredients. We get a variety of organic flours, seeds, etc. from them in bulk. Love me some Amish.

    Reply
  • Margaret Fuller April 18, 2013, 12:44 pm

    I just made gluten free bread for the first time last week! It’ll save me about $4/week. It was a corn & sorghum recipe from the “You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten Free!” cookbook. I just dumped everything in a bowl, mixed it with an electric mixer, put it in a loaf pan and baked. It was easier than making regular bread and didn’t require a machine. My guess is that the machine is more energy efficient than my gas oven, but I haven’t done the calculations.

    Reply
  • Silvie July 26, 2013, 7:21 am

    It’s true, us Dutchies really are very practical, no nonsense people. We are definitely amazed and shocked by American consumerism. We are taught that you don’t buy stuff if you can’t afford it. Also, we don’t really use credit cards. I have one that I only use occasionally on vacation and when I buy stuff online sometimes. I think I used it 3 times this year.

    Reply
  • Rachel July 26, 2013, 10:50 pm

    I am so searching for a bread machine now! Actually, already emailed someone selling one with good reviews on craigslist for $5. My boyfriend takes sandwiches to work nearly every day. We have been trying to switch to the healthier breads, but healthier breads are pricey!

    I made bread from scratch, but without a stand mixer it was some serious work. Although, if you’re ever angry at someone just knead some bread. Plenty of time to get all your aggression out while getting the dough to the right consistency.

    Reply
  • Robert November 3, 2013, 8:05 pm

    When kids were home we used to make 4 loaves at a time with a stand mixer. Now that it is just my wife and I, that’s too much (we like our bread fresh). So we got a bread machine and love it. We get good bread with nice crusts with almost no work.

    I would echo the suggestion of an earlier poster to get a grain grinder and grind your own wheat (and other grains). Contrary to MMM’s comment above, whole wheat does not have a long shelf life. Whole wheat oxidizes during storage, losing nutrition and flavor. If you grind your own grain in a low temperature grinding process (such as one of those mills with concentric rings of teeth, not a stone mill) you will get fresh flour. If you then use that to make fresh bread, you’ll be amazed at the difference in flavor vs. bread made from storebought whole wheat flour.

    We used to get our hard wheat berries from our food co-op but it closed. We now have found we can buy them from the LDS cannery in the nearest big city. We aren’t Mormons, but they kindly let us buy bulk supplies at their cannery. The wheat berries will store longer than ground whole wheat. To be sure of freshness, we throw the bags in our chest freezer.

    Reply

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