Thursday, February 27, 2014

homemaking hack: bread kits "from scratch"

Okay, so I've loved the idea of having a big family ever since we started having kids, and I always knew lots of food would be involved, but I honestly had no idea how much food they would eat! :D

So far, I only have children 10 and under, but we're all big eaters here at our house. I think some of it is because we generally don't eat lots of snacks or huge breakfasts, so when we eat a meal, we are all hungry when it's time to eat. :D

Rob and the kids eat sandwiches at lunch because they're easy to make and clean up in the middle of homeschooling, but these days we are going through an entire loaf of bread every meal! And if we shop at Sam's Club, the larger loaves run between $1.75- $2.50 per 24 ounce loaf, which makes eating sandwiches expensive. Even at the day-old bread store we pay about $1 per loaf.

Now that the baby is getting a little older, I'm trying to find every way we can to save on food- which means I'd like to make our own bread as often as possible, and save our family $5-$7 each week. A 1.5 lb. loaf of homemade bread from scratch costs me approximately 85 cents because I'm using olive oil and flour from Sam's Club.

The artisan bread I make is actually cheaper and better tasting in my opinion, but the breadmaker is more convenient for homeschooling mornings and for making sandwich bread. :)

Thankfully, instead of having to pull out all of the ingredients every morning {not convenient}, I have a very old homemaking hack I'm bringing back to make my goal of having homemade bread every day possible! 

It's the bread kit:

To make a bread kit, I just pre-measure all my dry goods so that I can dump them into my breadmaker one-handed. :) I modified my favorite recipe to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and added about 3 cups of flour, 2 tbs. of sugar, 1-1.5 tsp. of salt, and 2.5 tsp. of yeast to each bag.

I flattened each package out and wrote a little reminder of what I needed to add when I pour it in:

the recipe I'm using this time, adapted from here:
3 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt + a pinch more, 2.5 tsp. of yeast, and 2 tbs. sugar in each bag,
when using- add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 cup warm water to the machine {plus a tbs extra if needed during mixing}
Since they have yeast in them, I store the kits in the fridge to use through the week, but if I wanted to leave the yeast out, I could store them in the pantry {and have done that in the past!}. When I'm ready to use one, I just pour in the liquids {1 cup warm water and 1/4 cup of olive oil for this recipe} first and then add the kit, and put the bread cycle on regular white for 3 hours. {I've never noticed a problem with the kit being cold in the past, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem to pull it out a little early if needed or add a little hotter water to warm it up.}

I've made whole wheat using a different recipe in the past, and if I can find a good source of whole wheat in bulk I will probably go back to that for everyday use. For now we all like the white bread version. :) {I'd love to hear if you have a good machine recipe for wheat, and here is one for gluten-free machine bread if you're looking!}

I save the ziploc bags to reuse when we're done, so I don't have to waste them. :) And with the bread kits already made, I think it's easy enough the girls could do it every morning without leaving a mess. :) I'd say this little hack definitely makes life much easier and saves us money too! :D

How many loaves of bread does your family go through in a week?

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