Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Resolutions 2013: Make My Own Bread

The first Christmas we were married, Jon gave me a bread machine. It's a Cuisinart from Bed Bath & Beyond, back when their coupons were always 25% off instead of 20% off. Thought I wouldn't notice, BBB? I noticed.
I do love how I just leave the bread machine alone, and it produces dough or bread. It's so nice to come home from work and smell fresh bread! This particular breadmaker has a "delay start" setting so you can conveniently select when you would like it to finish. It's easy to clean, and definitely less messy than kneading by hand.

Besides all these perks, 100ish dollars seemed like a lot of money for a machine that did something I had always watched my mom do by hand. (Or you know, with a mixer and a wall oven.) I know it was a gift, but we spent our own money on it.

Since I was curious about the cost-effectiveness of a bread machine, I put a post-it note in the bread recipe book and keep a tally of each time I use the machine. In two years, I am up to 31 uses. That's not too bad considering I don't really use it in the summers, and for 8 months of 2012 it was packed up in a box. However, I think I can do better!

This year I'm resolving to bring my tally to 60, which would be approximately a two-fold increase in bread production. This would bring the per-use cost from $3.23 to about $1.66, plus the cost of ingredients. Using this calculator from Money Saving Mom, I calculated that ingredients for a 1.5 pound loaf of white bread costs $0.99. According to her post about bread machines, an average bread machine uses about 7.2 cents of electricity in one hour.

At 60 uses, my cost-per-loaf would be about $2.80 ($1.66 machine, $0.99 ingredients, $0.15 electricity).

Does this save us money? Yes! The cost of a loaf of bread that I like is around $4.29. The cost of a loaf that Jon likes was like $0.99 until he discovered potato bread, which was more like $3.50.


  1. Honey Whole Wheat Bread at Winco (medium quality bread with actual whole wheat and no corn syrup) I think is $1.45. I might play with that calculator to find out what it would cost to make something similar (in the oven, I don't have a bread machine).

  2. I calculated the cost on a 1.5 white bread loaf, just because that's what Jon was making while I typed this post. When I am the baker usually I make whole wheat :)

    I also think that the smell of baking bread is preferable to plodding around a cold grocery store, so that has to be worth something!

  3. I picked up a Breadman 875 from the thrift shop. Inspired by you and the rising cost of breakfast cereal and increasing interference of little people when I try to make various doughs (rolls, pizza dough).

    So far I followed the recipe once, then used an online recipe for soaked whole wheat bread (you unplug it overnight then add more stuff later) which worked OK but I spilled flour in the machine so I had to back the bread in the oven so I didn't burn the flour. Tonight I tricked the machine into baking my cornbread...used the dough setting to mix it and then started over on the "bake" setting.


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