Author Topic: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?  (Read 21458 times)

Little Nell

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #50 on: June 20, 2016, 10:57:34 PM »
Buy bulk yeast (dry, loose). Use very little and allow more time for a longer rise. Knead the dough yourself: it is really good exercise for the arms.

Bitey_Barkface

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #51 on: June 21, 2016, 06:54:03 PM »
I find it's cheaper than the "top shelf" stuff I buy. It depends if you buy Wonder bread or more expensive stuff. The ingredients aren't expensive and it's easy to do, plus I love having fresh homemade bread all the time! I find it well worth it.

Tip: pre-portion all your dry ingredients minus the yeast in ziplocks (I do 10 at a time). Write on the front of the bag your remaining wet ingredient & yeast amounts + instructions (if you need). When you're ready to make bread just dump in the pre-portioned stuff with your wet ingredients and yeast (as per your bag) and press start. You're done in 3 min. :)

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #52 on: June 27, 2016, 07:40:13 PM »
Yes it's cheaper, especially comparing like for like with truly healthy bread from a good bakery.  Truly healthy is key -- supermarket bread, any of it, is crap.

The challenge is getting good flour, and getting into a routine.

I've done it for stretches of time, both yeast and sourdough types, but not for several years.

I have some professional cooking experience, plus being an enthusiast.  I recommend "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" for learning the principles, along with all the recipes.  It's also worth taking a class.  A lot of artisan bakeries are teaching these, as another way to make money.

Breadmakers are great, once you have your recipe dialed in.  Not artisan, but you can crank out tasty and healthy loaves with ease.  They also use less electric, and heat your house up a lot less.  Most home ovens are terrible this way.

Rural

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2016, 08:58:05 PM »
Someone sent me a PM asking for my bread recipe from the lost post above, and I've replied to that, but I thought I'd post it here in case anybody else was interested.

 Multigrain bread recipe:

This is still a little heavier on the all-purpose flour than I like, so I'll probably start adjusting it to up the whole wheat content.

 Ingredients with cost where I live

1 1/3 cup water at 80°
 2 tablespoons olive oil – $.20
2.5 cups all-purpose flour – $.38
 1 cup whole wheat flour – $.24
1 cup oats (rolled or quick) – $.09
 1 1/2 teaspoons salt – $.01
4 teaspoons sugar – $.02
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels (unsalted, or rinse off the salt and drain well) – $.31
 1 1/2 teaspoons fast or bread machine yeast – $.21

In a bread machine, load the first two (wet) ingredients first, then all of the dry ingredients, yeast last. I use the standard cycle on my bread machine for a 1 1/2 pound loaf.

 A note on "creating" a bread recipe: the secret is to just do it slowly, one loaf at a time. Basically, I started with a plain white bread recipe that I knew worked  and started changing it up, one variable per loaf. I cut out butter and subbed in olive oil, cut way down on the sugar,  cut out milk because I didn't want to depend on having it on hand to make bread, and started changing white flour over to oats and whole-wheat flour a little at a time. Once I had a basic loaf I liked, I added sunflower seeds.  On the next loaf after I use up the premade mixes I put together for the pantry, I think I'll drop the white flour by half a cup and add half a cup of whole wheat. If that works, that's my new baseline loaf, and I'll try dropping  another half cup of all-purpose flour from it In favor of more oats.


Note for those interested: since this post I've dropped to 2 cups all purpose flour and. Increased the whole wheat to 1.5 cups for several successful loaves.

Le Poisson

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #54 on: July 14, 2016, 09:28:01 PM »
I am down to under $0.30 CAD per loaf.

I found the secret to getting past the enormous cost of buying yeast by getting it by the 2 lbs brick at a local wholesaler. In fact most of my bread ingredients come from there.

I use the recipes for beginner bread found on the Fleischman's website, and have yet to make a bad loaf. Early on I experimented with a bunch of other recipes before settling on this one. My only modification to the recipe is that I cut the salt in half.

We now have the family mostly weaned of grocery store bread. But Momma still grabs bagels when they are on half price.

Landlady

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #55 on: August 05, 2016, 06:09:10 PM »
I believe hamburger buns are cheaper made than bought even if you compare the truly cheap ones at $1.99 a bag.
Here's my favorite recipe which is easy and tastes way better than store bought: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/beautiful-burger-buns-recipe

Chanel No5

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2016, 02:21:47 PM »
I use King Arthur Bread Flour when I make bread. The protein content makes a huge difference in flavor.

It's cheaper to make my own, but I don't have the oven that can get a nice crust on the loaf. I have a small bake oven but never sure how to get the chewiness into the crust like in a baguette.  I set it at 350 and cook until done.

Axecleaver

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2016, 05:19:23 PM »
You throw a couple of ice cubes on the bottom of a hot oven. That creates steam which gives the crust a chewy texture. I believe you have to cook at much higher temps though - 400-450.

Le Poisson

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #58 on: August 16, 2016, 06:24:39 PM »
My recipe calls for a 400°F oven. The crust is indeed crusty.

nereo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2016, 07:41:32 AM »
I bake my bread inside a clay pot (preheated to 400ºF) inside my oven that I got for $10 at a flea market years ago. 
 It traps the steam and results in a really crispy crust. 

15 minutes with the lid on, ~15 minutes with the lid off (or until bread sounds hollow when tapped).


Le Poisson

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #60 on: August 19, 2016, 07:48:16 AM »
The clay pot - is it terracotta from Germany? One of these: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Romertopf.jpg

I got one from my in-laws and am still figuring out what to do with it.

nereo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #61 on: August 19, 2016, 08:01:21 AM »
The clay pot - is it terracotta from Germany? One of these: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Romertopf.jpg

I got one from my in-laws and am still figuring out what to do with it.

It looks something like that, but is all colored and chipped with age. 
I highly recommend trying to bake your next loaf of bread inside it.  Just make sure the pot is nice and hot when the dough goes in or else it won't stick... I give mine a good 20 minutes in a 400F oven.  As I said, 15 minutes with the lid on, then 15 minutes with the lid off.

The other thing I use it for is baking whole broiler chickens (or duck) with root veggies - rub a chicken with oil and salt & pepper.  Chop up some carrots, potatoes, parsnips, whole garlic cloves and arrange them around the chicken.  Add a sprig or two of rosemary. 
Cover the pot and put it into an oven for 30 minutes or so.  Then remove the cover and allow it to bake another 10-15 minutes (this crisps up both the skin and the veggies).  The fat that renders off the bird helps flavor the root veggies, and it's a great one-pot meal.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #62 on: August 19, 2016, 07:38:47 PM »
You end up paying for quality when you make it yourself.

Even at the cheapest you could do it yourself, you still can't be cheap great value load of bread for 79 cents...

nereo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #63 on: August 19, 2016, 07:58:44 PM »
You end up paying for quality when you make it yourself.

Even at the cheapest you could do it yourself, you still can't be cheap great value load of bread for 79 cents...

Um... have you read this thread?  Lots of people are getting homemade loaves for under 79¢... most in the 30-50¢ range.

Rural

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #64 on: August 19, 2016, 09:02:41 PM »
You end up paying for quality when you make it yourself.

Even at the cheapest you could do it yourself, you still can't be cheap great value load of bread for 79 cents...


I'm a major fan of Walmart and do all my grocery shopping there, but a cheap loaf of great value bread is $1.19 for the squishy white stuff, $1.49 for whole wheat.

nereo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #65 on: August 21, 2016, 08:55:23 AM »

We used a bread maker for a year or so --- your type of cost/value consideration is what ... 10 lbs of homemade chorizo (69 cent/lb pork shoulder processed into $6/lb chorizo---you can skip the stuffing and make patties and freeze)....

Yum - mind sharing your chorizo recipe?

Le Poisson

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #66 on: August 21, 2016, 08:56:24 AM »
It costs me about $0.50 per loaf to produce wheat bread in my bread machine. The best value of that machine, though, is making pizza dough for homemade pizza for Netflix night on weekends. That saves us about $13 per pizza night.

We used a bread maker for a year or so --- your type of cost/value consideration is what got us to buy a kitchenaid stand mixer

(recommend: 6qt refurbished bowl lift) --- at first we said-- no buying bread, we have to make bread ($2/ loaf) x 18 months to pay for the mixer.... but it reduced our spending much more as your pizza night shows... it speeds up so many things beyond baking--shredding pork and chicken, making whipped cream--- and we eat nicer/better as a result....see: grandma pizza, big mac pizza, 10 lbs of homemade chorizo (69 cent/lb pork shoulder processed into $6/lb chorizo---you can skip the stuffing and make patties and freeze)....

Waitaminite... you make sausage in a bread maker??? This changes everything. Or did you buy the grinder attachment for the KitchenAid and that's what you're talking about??

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Esteban

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2016, 02:05:07 PM »
We had drifted away from making our own bread until we read this, about using fresh milled whole flour, which is what bread was made from until the 20th century.  Flour used in baking and sold in supermarkets is just the starch; the objective is prolonged shelf life. But, the nutritious bits are separated out.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-you-carbo-load-your-way-to-good-health-1463670677

Excerpt: Freshly milled flour is also worlds apart from the so-called “whole wheat” flours and baked goods on supermarket shelves. Typically, those are made by mixing white flour with a small amount of wheat bran but with the wheat germ omitted altogether because its oils limit shelf life.

It is difficult to bake manually, but thankfully we have a bread machine that makes just the perfect fresh milled flour loaf.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 02:09:10 PM by Esteban »

FINate

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #69 on: September 02, 2016, 10:30:59 PM »
I bake rustic sourdough rounds using a starter that I've been maintained in the fridge for the past couple of years. Keeping the starter in the fridge means I only need to refresh it every month or so. The rustic breads are very simple: flour, water, salt, and sourdough starter.

I get my flour from Central Milling in Petaluma, CA. It's organic and very high quality, and used by many 'artisan' bakeries in Norther California. To keep costs down I buy it by the 50# bag (runs about $46 plus $15 shipping), which usually last me 4-5 months. So it's not cheap relative to what you get in the grocery store, but it makes much better bread. Even with the fancypants flour, my cost per ~0.5kg loaf is:

  • 500g flour: $1.34
  • 10g salt: $0.02
  • 100g sourdough starter: $0.14
  • 375g water: basically free

So for about $1.50 I'm making a loaf that's as good, or better, than the artisan shops selling the same loaf for $6 or more. The first day the loaves (usually make two at a time) are heavenly - warm, soft, chewy with crunchy crust, nutty wheat flavor. By the next day the bread is a bit more sour and a little dryer, still delicious. By days 3-4 it is very good toasted or grilled, or used for grill cheese sandwiches and/or excellent french bread. On the rare occasion where it last longer than 4 days I cut it up and make croutons that we usually use in homemade soups.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2016, 08:07:57 AM by FINate »

LMBB

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #70 on: September 16, 2016, 08:22:02 PM »
We had drifted away from making our own bread until we read this, about using fresh milled whole flour, which is what bread was made from until the 20th century.  Flour used in baking and sold in supermarkets is just the starch; the objective is prolonged shelf life. But, the nutritious bits are separated out.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-you-carbo-load-your-way-to-good-health-1463670677

Excerpt: Freshly milled flour is also worlds apart from the so-called “whole wheat” flours and baked goods on supermarket shelves. Typically, those are made by mixing white flour with a small amount of wheat bran but with the wheat germ omitted altogether because its oils limit shelf life.

It is difficult to bake manually, but thankfully we have a bread machine that makes just the perfect fresh milled flour loaf.

I buy 25# bags of hard white wheat berries for some ridiculously low price ($13 or something?) and grind my own fresh wheat flour using the dry container on my vitamix. Between that and the 2# bag of yeast for $4.50 at Costco I make whole wheat bread very cheaply (and deliciously)

MBot

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #71 on: September 23, 2016, 11:06:12 AM »
For the fancy bread I like to eat, it's a lot cheaper. And infrequent.

For the three loaves of sandwich bread that my husband and our boarder use for their daily breakfast toast and lunch  sandwiches (8-12 slices a day!) -  no wayyyyy am I baking that much bread even if we do save a few cents. Plus a store bought load iOS good Monday thru Friday as opposed to a perishable homemade one

robartsd

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #72 on: September 23, 2016, 11:51:27 AM »
Do you thaw prior to using it? Keep a small portion in the refrigerator?
Dry yeast can be used straight from the freezer. The grains are small and you use so little of it that the temperature is not very important. For convenience we keep a small jar in the fridge that we replenish from the bulk bag in the freezer.

o2bfree

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #73 on: October 05, 2016, 05:57:35 PM »
We use organic ingredients (except for the yeast) in a no-knead recipe, and it's about $1.05/loaf. It's so simple there's no reason to buy bread. Just stir the ingredients together, let sit at least 24 hours, stirring a couple times, drop into a pre-heated dutch oven, dust, score, and bake for 50 minutes. It's beautiful!

daurelia

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #74 on: October 27, 2016, 02:07:49 PM »
We bake our own bread, and I use a combination of the "artisan bread in five minutes a day" recipe and the NY Times No Knead Bread recipe.

A trick I've recently discovered is to devote my crisper drawer in my fridge to the dough. I mix a massive amount of dough directly into the (washed immediately before) crisper, and then over the course of a few weeks, any time we want fresh bread, I open the crisper drawer, tear off grapefruit-sized hunks of dough, let it sit and rise again for about 90 minutes (meanwhile the oven and cast-iron pot heat up), then pop it in. Every few weeks I clean out the crisper drawer and start again.

I haven't done the exact math but I DO have a 50 lb bag of bread flour that cost me $13.00. The only ingredients are flour, yeast, salt, water... I can't see a loaf of bread costing me more than a dollar. And very little effort with my crisper method.

nereo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #75 on: October 27, 2016, 02:15:32 PM »

A trick I've recently discovered is to devote my crisper drawer in my fridge to the dough. I mix a massive amount of dough directly into the (washed immediately before) crisper, and then over the course of a few weeks, any time we want fresh bread, I open the crisper drawer, tear off grapefruit-sized hunks of dough, let it sit and rise again for about 90 minutes (meanwhile the oven and cast-iron pot heat up), then pop it in. Every few weeks I clean out the crisper drawer and start again.

!!  This was a head-smacking, 'this-is-brilliant' idea that I am going to implement immediately. We've struggled with finding a container to store no-knead bread that fits well in our fridge - most are either too squat (bad for rising), too small for 5lbs of dough or too tall to fit.  The crisper drawer seems like the perfect size in all respects.

Goldielocks

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #76 on: October 27, 2016, 03:52:21 PM »
We bake our own bread, and I use a combination of the "artisan bread in five minutes a day" recipe and the NY Times No Knead Bread recipe.

A trick I've recently discovered is to devote my crisper drawer in my fridge to the dough. I mix a massive amount of dough directly into the (washed immediately before) crisper, and then over the course of a few weeks, any time we want fresh bread, I open the crisper drawer, tear off grapefruit-sized hunks of dough, let it sit and rise again for about 90 minutes (meanwhile the oven and cast-iron pot heat up), then pop it in. Every few weeks I clean out the crisper drawer and start again.

I haven't done the exact math but I DO have a 50 lb bag of bread flour that cost me $13.00. The only ingredients are flour, yeast, salt, water... I can't see a loaf of bread costing me more than a dollar. And very little effort with my crisper method.

Duh!!  How did I not think of that option -- I leave my dough overnight on the counter, but planning 18 hours in advance to make no Knead bread for me is like trying to remember to soak the dried beans... it only happens occasionally.... and I have so much homemade jam not being eaten because of it.


Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #77 on: January 06, 2017, 04:04:21 PM »
Yeast from Costco is super cheap - $4 for an infinite supply.

Well hello, spendypants! :) Yeast is free. It's in the air, it's already on your flour. You just have to coax it out.

Seriously. There's no need to buy it, especially if you're making sourdough. You can make a starter with just flour and water.

nereo

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2017, 09:16:00 AM »
Yeast from Costco is super cheap - $4 for an infinite supply.

Well hello, spendypants! :) Yeast is free. It's in the air, it's already on your flour. You just have to coax it out.

Seriously. There's no need to buy it, especially if you're making sourdough. You can make a starter with just flour and water.

I'm trying to do the math here, but where I get stuck is trying to divide by infinity.  It keeps coming out as "$0"
:-P

(but point taken, yeast can be free if you just do some light, daily babysitting of a sour-dough starter)

Jakejake

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #79 on: January 09, 2017, 07:56:15 PM »
I've created a few starters in the past, I just wasn't good at keeping them going indefinitely. The best bread I've made was from what I affectionately referred to as the bronchitis bread, because we had bronchitis when the starter was hatched, so I assumed that was part of what made it so good.

(You'll all be pleased to know I don't work in the restaurant industry.)

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #80 on: January 10, 2017, 08:06:02 AM »
On some of the questions regarding yeast age, freezing, etc. Its important to remember yeast is a living culture, so yeast stored in the freezer will help preserve it longer, but the yeast cell count will drop over time. However, even this problem can be overcome by creating a starter or allowing the dough more time to rise. If the initial cell count is to low, you run the chance of other yeast cultures multiplying in your dough before the yeast you added can establish. When the yeast is pulled out of the freezer and added to your dough mixture, the yeast takes time to wake up and begin eating, multiplying and creating CO2… Which is what creates the air pockets in the dough.

None of this is super important to the success of making bread, it's not rocket science, bread will come out fantastic even if it does rise(flat bread). Just thought I would share what I learned making beer and wine, and how it relates to yeast in bread.

Le Poisson

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #81 on: January 10, 2017, 08:29:13 AM »
We watched Ep. 2 of this program last night on bread baking in Victorian England. It was quite fascinating, not only for the ways the bread was made, but also the "additives" that went into the flour and the way the bakers lived. So happy to live in the time we do!

http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/the-food-chain/victorian-baking-upper-canada-style

Syonyk

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #82 on: January 10, 2017, 10:42:00 PM »
We haven't bought a loaf of bread in months now, since we discovered my wife's parents had a bread machine they weren't using.

Tastier, healthier, and honestly, I don't even care if a loaf of white from the store on sale is, technically, cheaper.  It's not better, and that it can last for weeks without getting moldy is simply terrifying when you think about how rapidly fresh bread gets moldy.

Beardog

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #83 on: January 14, 2017, 04:53:07 PM »
I had been using a Zojirushi bread maker and while the bread was better than store bought, it wasn't nearly as good as the slow rise bread that I'd been making using the Whole Wheat Bread recipe from Mark Bittman's wonderful book "How to Bake Everything".  What I discovered is that I can mix the bread in the bread machine baking pan, remove the baking pan and let it rise for 24 hours, cycle through all the stages of the "Home Made Menu" to go directly to the baking cycle, and pop the baking pan with the risen dough into the bread maker to cook it.

The benefits of this is that I can use the bread maker to do the mixing in the baking pan (no mixing pan to wash), and the cost of baking the bread is lower in the bread maker than in my oven since the bread maker is so much smaller.  I am just frugal enough to appreciate saving a few pennies in running my oven.  Baking the dough in the bread machine gives me the same fantastic crust that I was getting when baking the bread in the oven with a steam source.

Jakejake

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #84 on: January 14, 2017, 06:37:13 PM »
Are you letting it rise in the fridge? Or at room temperature? Do you cover it with something or oil the top? I'm picturing it rising, then overflowing its pan in 24 hours and looking like the feature actor in The Blob. 

Beardog

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #85 on: January 15, 2017, 06:18:11 AM »
Are you letting it rise in the fridge? Or at room temperature? Do you cover it with something or oil the top? I'm picturing it rising, then overflowing its pan in 24 hours and looking like the feature actor in The Blob. 

Ha!ha!  No Blobs here! 

This recipe uses 1/2 teaspoon yeast so you actually have to give it a long time to rise.  I run my house on the cool side and live in the northeast so I keep the pan in my oven, and periodically, when I think of it, I turn on the oven at the lowest heat for a minute or less to warm it up a little.  I cover the pan with the plastic bag that the bread will eventually reside in, using an elastic band to secure it down.  The dough never gets near the top so no danger at all of overflowing the pan.  The recipe I'm using, adapted from Bittman and the Zojirushi bread maker manual is: 1.5 cup H20 (warmed in micro a bit), 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3.5 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon yeast.

I find the slow rise bread is far superior to anything else, and the texture of the whole wheat bread prepared this way is much better than usual, so it's really worth taking the time to do this.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 06:21:37 AM by Beardog »

G-dog

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #86 on: January 15, 2017, 07:13:31 AM »
Are you letting it rise in the fridge? Or at room temperature? Do you cover it with something or oil the top? I'm picturing it rising, then overflowing its pan in 24 hours and looking like the feature actor in The Blob. 

Ha!ha!  No Blobs here! 

This recipe uses 1/2 teaspoon yeast so you actually have to give it a long time to rise.  I run my house on the cool side and live in the northeast so I keep the pan in my oven, and periodically, when I think of it, I turn on the oven at the lowest heat for a minute or less to warm it up a little.  I cover the pan with the plastic bag that the bread will eventually reside in, using an elastic band to secure it down.  The dough never gets near the top so no danger at all of overflowing the pan.  The recipe I'm using, adapted from Bittman and the Zojirushi bread maker manual is: 1.5 cup H20 (warmed in micro a bit), 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3.5 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon yeast.

I find the slow rise bread is far superior to anything else, and the texture of the whole wheat bread prepared this way is much better than usual, so it's really worth taking the time to do this.

No white flour?  Sounds like this is a no-knead type recipe (lots of water + time for gluten to develop). The bran in whole wheat tends to cut the gluten strands when kneading, so it makes sense that a no-knead recipe may produce a less dense loaf.

Jakejake

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #87 on: January 15, 2017, 08:47:11 AM »
Alright I'm trying it now! I'm in the dough cycle.

My bread machine died last year and I replaced it with a zojirushi from the thrift shop which I love. It's noticeably better than my last one. This will force me to use the home made feature. Yay for learning a new trick today!

Beardog

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Re: Is it cheaper to make your own bread?
« Reply #88 on: January 16, 2017, 06:49:19 AM »
Alright I'm trying it now! I'm in the dough cycle.

My bread machine died last year and I replaced it with a zojirushi from the thrift shop which I love. It's noticeably better than my last one. This will force me to use the home made feature. Yay for learning a new trick today!

Great!  Please let me know how it worked for you.  I got my Zojirushi from the thrift store too.  It was virtually brand new and I couldn't believe my good fortune when I spotted it.