Author Topic: Electricity and bread baking  (Read 5782 times)

AgentCooper

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Electricity and bread baking
« on: November 13, 2015, 10:22:13 AM »
My wife bakes her own bread 2 or 3 times a week.  We don't buy any Artificial Bread from the store (they sell an edible, food-like substance that really only resembles bread in appearance).  Bread is one of my kidsí primary food sources, especially since we gave up Diabetes-in-a-Box processed breakfast cereal.

Anyway she is wondering if frequent baking is one of the things driving up our electric bill.  We pay $160 to $200 a month for a 2,500 sq. foot house in Louisiana.  I know running the AC is the main killer.  We are drying clothes outside whenever it isnít raining (and on a rack inside when it is raining).  We have two refrigerators (household of 6; the second one was a gift which my wife loves and I despise).  The last suspected culprit is the electric oven.

bobertsen

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 10:26:57 AM »
According to this calculator: http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_oven.htm it seems that running an oven costs about 24 cents an hour (at 10 cents per kWh). Depending upon baking times, you may want to consider a bread machine if saving costs is the goal. If deliciousness is the goal, it's hard to beat the crust you get by oven baking.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 10:32:03 AM by bobertsen »

lthenderson

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 10:34:14 AM »
Ditto above. Another suggestion for saving money is to reduce baking to just once a week and make more loaves at a time.

Bracken_Joy

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Exflyboy

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 11:16:39 AM »
Hah.. Funny because I have my fridge plugged into the Kill-a-watt meter right now.. looks like it will use about 0.9KWh in 24 hours.

Now of course not using the dryer helps a lot, but drying on a rack inside may or may not help. You see the energy to evaporate the water from the wet clothes has to come from somewhere. In fact it take 970 BTU's ( which is 0.284 KWhr) to evaporate each pound of water.

Now if your house is too warm.. that's great because drying inside will evaporate the water which will lower the temperature inside the house and avoid you having to run the AC.

If the house is too cold then evaporating the water will drop the temperature further and you might have to run the heat to warm the place back up again.. assuming you have electric heat you won't save anything by drying inside (in fact it would cost you more money). If you heat the house with gas it would be cheaper of course.

Now to the oven.. its the same thing in reverse.. If your house is too cold all the heat you pump into the oven eventually heats the house.. Now if you have to run the AC to cool the house your paying for the energy twice (but not quite because it will cost about a third of the amount of power to remove the heat.. i.e if you are pulling 3 KWh out of the house then it will cost you about 1KWh to move that heat out (depends on the coefficient of performance for your particular AC system).

If you would be running electric heat anyway.. well the oven is just as good at heating the house as any other electric heater... it all ends up in the kitchen of course..:)

Not sure if Kill-a watt has a 240v ("two phase") version?.. If its just a 125 wall outlet model that wont work for an electric oven in the US.


Syonyk

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 11:23:42 AM »
A bread machine will be radically more efficient than the main oven.

Ditto above. Another suggestion for saving money is to reduce baking to just once a week and make more loaves at a time.

Proper home made bread doesn't really last a week in many climates.  It starts getting moldy within a few days of being cooked, if you don't have preservatives in it.

Not sure if Kill-a watt has a 240v ("two phase") version?.. If its just a 125 wall outlet model that wont work for an electric oven in the US.

Just go outside and watch your power meter spin to calculate oven power use.  It's not going to be subtle.  Figure out how to read your meter out there and you're good enough for figuring out oven power consumption.

Spork

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 11:26:13 AM »
Not sure if Kill-a watt has a 240v ("two phase") version?.. If its just a 125 wall outlet model that wont work for an electric oven in the US.

I've never seen one... and ... it would be difficult with as many different plug configurations there are for 240v appliances.  You could hack one with some wire, extra receptacles and 2 kill-a-watts... but at that point you'd be better off buying an inductive amp clamp type meter.

Le Poisson

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2015, 11:39:52 AM »
A bread machine will be radically more efficient than the main oven.

Ditto above. Another suggestion for saving money is to reduce baking to just once a week and make more loaves at a time.

Proper home made bread doesn't really last a week in many climates.  It starts getting moldy within a few days of being cooked, if you don't have preservatives in it.


Good point!

Ours might last a week, but only barely. When we bake, we put one loaf in the breadbox and three in the freezer. The breadbox protects the bread from light - keeping it in the fridge would likely extend its life better, but for now the breadbox works fine. Fridges and freezers are most efficient when full (thermal mass at work) so storing our bread and even flour in there makes sense at least from a money perspective.

Spork

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2015, 11:49:15 AM »
A bread machine will be radically more efficient than the main oven.

Ditto above. Another suggestion for saving money is to reduce baking to just once a week and make more loaves at a time.

Proper home made bread doesn't really last a week in many climates.  It starts getting moldy within a few days of being cooked, if you don't have preservatives in it.


Good point!

Ours might last a week, but only barely. When we bake, we put one loaf in the breadbox and three in the freezer. The breadbox protects the bread from light - keeping it in the fridge would likely extend its life better, but for now the breadbox works fine. Fridges and freezers are most efficient when full (thermal mass at work) so storing our bread and even flour in there makes sense at least from a money perspective.

Freezer is fine... but don't use the fridge.  Bread get stale more rapidly in the refrigerator than if you just left it out.

maco

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2015, 01:06:24 PM »
Now if you have to run the AC to cool the house your paying for the energy twice (but not quite because it will cost about a third of the amount of power to remove the heat.. i.e if you are pulling 3 KWh out of the house then it will cost you about 1KWh to move that heat out (depends on the coefficient of performance for your particular AC system).
This sounds like a reason to build a cob oven.

lthenderson

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2015, 03:30:07 PM »
A bread machine will be radically more efficient than the main oven.

Ditto above. Another suggestion for saving money is to reduce baking to just once a week and make more loaves at a time.

Proper home made bread doesn't really last a week in many climates.  It starts getting moldy within a few days of being cooked, if you don't have preservatives in it.


Good point!

Ours might last a week, but only barely. When we bake, we put one loaf in the breadbox and three in the freezer. The breadbox protects the bread from light - keeping it in the fridge would likely extend its life better, but for now the breadbox works fine. Fridges and freezers are most efficient when full (thermal mass at work) so storing our bread and even flour in there makes sense at least from a money perspective.

Freezer is fine... but don't use the fridge.  Bread get stale more rapidly in the refrigerator than if you just left it out.

When I bake bread, I let it cool and put it in a large gallon sized plastic bag left on the counter. I normally get 10 days out of a loaf of bread before it goes bad. The plastic bag protects it from the climate. Moister more dense breads might only last seven days. Even if they could only go from 3 times a week to just twice, that is a 50% savings right there.

Goldielocks

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2015, 03:37:47 PM »
According to this calculator: http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_oven.htm it seems that running an oven costs about 24 cents an hour (at 10 cents per kWh).

Don't forget the additional cost to AC the house after baking!  I don't bake much in summer because I don't have AC and it heats up the house.

kimmarg

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2015, 03:53:05 PM »
I bake a ton. The month my oven was broke my electric went down $20 (@ $0.16/kWh that's about 125kwh) My stress level went up way more than $20 from not being able to bake. Plus how many loaves of good bread can you get at the store for $20?

2ndTimer

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2015, 04:25:36 PM »
I bake bread every week.  In the Winter, I turn off the heat on baking day.  During our rare hot periods in Summer I make flat bread on top of the stove.

Gerard

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2015, 05:16:47 PM »
I like the suggestion of seasonal changes in your bread-making. In winter, the oven's heat is actually helping to heat your house (which I assume is necessary even in Louisiana!), but summer might be a time for flatbreads, or maybe even an outdoor oven (or "baking" in a barbecue), or fast pizzas under the broiler, or baking during whatever times are cool enough to have windows open and AC off.

Baking less often seems like a good idea, too. I've noticed recently that my homemade bread has a life cycle, the same way a shirt does (good shirt, home shirt, yardwork shirt, rag, plant ties): warm from the oven with butter, then cold in sandwiches, then toasted, then grilled, then grilled and dipped in soup or stew, then soaked for frittata or bread pudding, or dried for bread crumbs. So baking every four days or so gives me super-fresh bread only about 3 days a week, but tasty Bread Things all week long.

Goldielocks

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2015, 08:36:40 AM »
"Tasty Bread Things"

...that should be trademarked!

bobechs

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2015, 12:23:14 PM »

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2015, 08:25:34 PM »
If anyone does build an outdoor oven, PLEASE post info on it!

It's 'on my list' of crap I want to do. I did buy a solar oven, but have not played with it at all. Also bought a solar thermos, and that made boiling water for tea quick and easy.

I've actually purchased two woodstoves off of craigslist that have baking compartments...haven't had time to hook either of them up. One would do two loves, the other maybe 3-4.

I lived briefly in the French Quarter....I would think that if you could find a wood stove with a baking compartment, having a little wood heat in the winter to burn excess Louisiana moisture in the air might be a good thing?

There's also Amish type solutions: baking day is split amongst families. So you and a friend/neighbor bake at  your house one time, one time at theirs. Same amount of energy spent but half as often.


1967mama

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2015, 09:54:38 PM »
I bake a lot (including bread) and definitely use a freezer to store extra loaves. We double wrap them in plastic wrap, first lengthwise and then widthwise. I make up to 12 at a time (large family).

On any day I'm baking, I definitely try to "chain bake" so that I'm not heating/cooling/heating/cooling. Once, I read that the initial heating up of the oven is a huge energy draw (sorry, no source).  Even though it can be exhausting (and a bear to clean up), its worth it to do a couple of batches of cookies, some sweet loaves and muffins, etc. while your bread is rising. Then call it a day and don't bake again until the following week.

I agree with the above posters. If your family really desires warm bread out of the oven on a thrice weekly basis,  a breadmaker is perfect! They are super cheap at thrift stores.

Valetta

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2015, 05:26:45 AM »
My husband bakes all our bread and has for years.

It lasts pretty much exactly 7 days, both before it is gone and before mold. If there is any left on day 6, I slice it and freeze it for those rare times when we run out of bread.

For the summer months so we don't end up running our AC more, he has mastered the art of baking bread on the grill outside. We have a gas grill that was an inheritance from my grandparents, really fancy. We don't use it that much so we only buy propane about once per year - just weekly bread and the occasional pizza/steaks. He puts a huge baking/pizza stone on it, heats it up and then puts the bread on it. I don't know all the specifics since I'm not the one who does it, but it seems to work really well.

kimmarg

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2015, 06:58:29 AM »
If anyone does build an outdoor oven, PLEASE post info on it!

It's 'on my list' of crap I want to do. I did buy a solar oven, but have not played with it at all. Also bought a solar thermos, and that made boiling water for tea quick and easy.

I've actually purchased two woodstoves off of craigslist that have baking compartments...haven't had time to hook either of them up. One would do two loves, the other maybe 3-4.

I lived briefly in the French Quarter....I would think that if you could find a wood stove with a baking compartment, having a little wood heat in the winter to burn excess Louisiana moisture in the air might be a good thing?

There's also Amish type solutions: baking day is split amongst families. So you and a friend/neighbor bake at  your house one time, one time at theirs. Same amount of energy spent but half as often.

I'd love outdoor oven info too!

Woodstove ovens are straight forward, it just takes a bit to get the hang of keeping the temperature constant. Might want to try a roast or something less temperature sensitive the first few times while you work on how much fire, vents open etc works best. Also a thermometer in the oven, as most older dials are long since wrong..

BPA

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2015, 08:28:08 AM »
It's cheaper where I live to use electricity after 7 pm or on weekends.  So, I use a bread machine and turn it on at 7 pm.  It's done baking by 10 pm, so I can use it for the next day. 

I do all of my laundry and vacuuming after 7 pm too and I don't let anyone turn on the electric fireplace until after 7 pm. 


Uturn

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2015, 08:50:39 AM »
Outdoor baking, Big Green Egg.  I know they are expensive, but unless you drop it, it is a buy it for life item.  It bakes, smokes, grills.  Smoked acorn squash is awesome.  I make fritattas in it, bake crackers, and plan on smoking a turkey in a couple of weeks. 

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2015, 09:08:10 AM »
Valetta,

Do you rent your husband out? That's a neat trick for real bread! I've seen a guy do pizza on an old paving stone on a grill....thought he was crazy at first but it came out great, with the right crust and everything.


I guess my best zero electric baking experience personally has been in a Dutch oven: I made onion/cheese biscuits over a campfire about 30 miles in the back country once....horse camping means you can bring heavy crap like that. But a good Dutch oven could be fine for flatbreads and small loaves, for sure.

Valetta

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Re: Electricity and bread baking
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2015, 03:25:16 PM »
Valetta,

Do you rent your husband out? That's a neat trick for real bread! I've seen a guy do pizza on an old paving stone on a grill....thought he was crazy at first but it came out great, with the right crust and everything.


He actually will occasionally charge others for homebaked goodies. Often he just gives it out for free and expects the good vibes to just come back (which I fully support) but every once in a while a friend will place an "order" and then pay him for it. That's as close as I come to the renting out. :)