Healthier Bread on a Budget
We are creatures of habit. Most of us buy bread because we assume we don't have the time or skill to make our own. But you don't need to be a professional baker to make good whole grain bread. All you need is patience while you experiment with recipes to find one you like. To make good bread with very little skill, consider trying no-knead and bread machine recipes as a first step.
Healthier breads are those that are whole grain. For store bought bread, the first ingredient should be a whole grain (e.g. whole wheat, whole oats, etc). For homemade bread, most of the flour you use (or better yet, 100% of the flour) should be whole grain.
Not only do you save money when you make your own bread, but you also control the quality of the ingredients. To help convince you to consider making your own bread, I have provided a cost comparison. The weight of one slice of bread is typically 1 oz (for a thinner, lighter slice) to 2 oz (for a heartier, heavier slice). I used King Soopers for pricing – this is a chain grocery store (also known as Kroger's in other states). For the homemade breads (the first two on the list below), I used store brand pricing for all flours, salt, yeast, canola oil, and corn meal. Since I couldn't find a store brand version of Vital Wheat Gluten, an ingredient in both homemade breads, I used Bob Red Mills® brand. I used bulk honey (Crockett's Clover Honey from Costco) pricing for the whole wheat bread machine recipe. If you use honey as a sweetener, then buy in bulk to save money. Small containers of honey are extremely expensive even if you buy the store brand (e.g. Kroger 24 oz Honey Bear is $0.24/oz whereas Costco's Crockett Clover Honey is only $0.14/oz).
3.6 cents/oz: Homemade Whole Wheat Bread using "The Master Recipe" (by Hertzberg & Francois), 1 lb (16oz) loaf, $0.58
5.0 cents/oz: Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread for the Bread Machine (by KingArthurFlour.com) 1.5 lb (24 oz) loaf, $1.21
6.6 cents/oz: King Soopers White Bread, 24 oz loaf, $1.59
8.5 cents/oz: King Soopers Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread, 20 oz loaf, $1.69
17.5 cents/oz: Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat, 24 oz loaf, $4.19
20.9 cents/oz: Rudi's 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, 22 oz loaf, $4.59
Using 3 oz per day as an average intake (2 slices of bread at 1.5 oz/slice), one person would save $54/year if they made their own whole wheat bread (using The Master Recipe listed above) vs. buying a store brand whole wheat bread. A family of four would save $215/year making the same switch.
An even more dramatic savings occurs when one compares homemade bread to Rudi's® brand (one of the pricier commercial brands) – one person would save $189/year whereas a family of four would save a whopping $756/year. Wow – that is a lot of cash to save on a single food item! For those of you on a shoestring college budget or trying to feed a family on one limited income, making bread makes a lot of sense.
Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Forum or Facebook page. I would love to hear from you!
Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary
Tip for MyNetDiary Members: To calculate the calories in your homemade bread, if it wasn’t listed for the recipe you're using, simply create a custom "Recipe" by listing each of the ingredients separately, including the amounts used, and provide the serving size. Then choose "Recipe" in "Consumed Amount" column. It's quick and simple thanks to MyNetDiary.
Alice Currah. PBS Parents: Kitchen Explorers. Healthy Bread in 5 minutes. This post includes a no-knead whole wheat bread recipe from Hertzberg & Francois, the writers of "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day."
Bread in 5.
Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source: Carbohydrates. The Bottom Line: Choose Good Carbs Not No Carbs. Article includes a link to a great whole grain bread recipe!
Cooking Light. All About Baking Bread.
The Fresh Loaf.
Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.