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My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Evaluating the Time

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in 4 Week Bread Challenge, Series | 2 comments

Whenever I am trying something new in our home, I try to evaluate my time and effort into that project.  Just like I evaluated the cost for making homemade bread, if a project/challenge takes too much time away from my priorities – was it worth the effort? What can I learn from it? Is there a way I can streamline the process to make it faster? Or is it something that needs to be pushed to the way side. Therefore, I believe that evaluating my time is just as essential as evaluating the dollars spent.

This month I calculated that it took me an estimate of 3.5 hours to make all of our bread this month. The break down goes like this:

  1. 2 hours was dedicated to prepping for the month
  2. 10 to 15 minutes once to twice a week for preparing bread for the oven

This time does not include the rising of the bread or the baking time because I was able to do other tasks within my home during those time periods.  Since I am a stay-at-home wife and mom and this month was relativity slower around here, September provided a perfect opportunity to practice my baking skills, hone a bread making routine and identify what recipes my family truly enjoys.

I found the key element to making my challenge work well was planning ahead. Even though planning took time as well, it created a plan of action. A forward moving process that actively let me be successful in the goal I wanted to obtain: make our bread for one month.

I learned far more then I had hoped, I learned I will not be able to make all our bread every month.  Some months (especially as we enter the holiday season) will require other baking and projects that will require my attention in the time slot I allotted for this months challenge.  I will continue to use the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day as a go-to-option because of it’s quick prep time and provision of at least 4 loaves of bread per batch. For special gatherings I will enjoy making hamburger buns for mini sliders and more then likely enjoy a piece of english muffin bread with my morning devotional time.

I really hope that you have enjoyed following my journey through making our bread this month.  I hope it inspires to try something homemade in your home, even if it is just for one month.  I’m sure you would find just as much joy and energy from doing something just as fun!

If you were to try one thing homemade for one month, what would it be? Write out a plan of action and try it out.  Share what that one homemade item would be, I’d love to hear! 

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My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Evaluating the Cost

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in 4 Week Bread Challenge, Series, Shopping | 4 comments

 

As the co-manager of my home, I’m constantly evaluating the cost of food and items we buy.  It is one way I can make an educated decision on whether it’s something we should continue buying or doing in order to maintain a healthy grocery budget. Today I’m going to share with you the financial cost of making my own bread for the month of September.

Before we evaluate the cost let me show you how much bread I made.

This month I’ve made: 5 loaves of sandwich bread, 4 loafs of english muffin bread, 8 biscuits, 16 hamburger buns, 42 pumpkin muffins, 8 loaves of Artisan bread and one pan of corn bread. Four bags of blueberry bread mix and three bags of corn bread mix are ready to make for next month. I also bought one loaf of bread over the weekend because I was sick.

I understand that is a lot of bread! You’re probably thinking, “How much weight did you gain this month with all that bread?!”  :) First off I didn’t eat all that bread by myself. We had 3 adults living in the house and a toddler.  Along with 3 luncheons with friends and 2 families joining us for dinner or dinners.  Lastly, 3 loaves of Artisan bread were given as gifts to friends.

Evaluating the cost was and is a little tricky.  Majority of the ingredients I needed for making bread I already had on hand.  So I’m going to break down the costs into two categories.  The first category is how much money was spent out of this months grocery budget.  The second category will be on-hand ingredient prices. I will detail when I bought them to give you a little bit of how long they have lasted for our household.

September Grocery Budget for Bread 

  • All purpose flour (10 lbs) – $2.86
  • White Whole Wheat Flour (10 lbs) – $6.88
  • Butter (1 lb) – $2.49
  •  Canned pumpkin – $4.28
  • Store bought loaf – $2.49
  • Cooking Spray – $1.49
  • Milk – $3
  • Eggs – 0.20 (I only used 2 eggs for bread)
TOTAL COST = $20.69

 On-Hand Ingredient Prices

  • Raw Sugar (6 lb bag from Costco purchased in July) – $11
  • Honey (32 oz container from Costco purchased in June) – $13
  • Yeast (2 lb bag from Costco purchased in June) – $5
  • Sea Salt (Bought from Walmart in August) – $2
  • Chocolate Chips – (96 oz bag purchased from Costco in July) – $9
  • Cake Mix (3 boxes purchased at Target clearance). $3.30

TOTAL COST COMBINED FROM PREVIOUS MONTHS = $43.30

Note: The ingredients in the second category (on-hand), I still have a good portion left  (except the honey is starting to run low). Looking at when I bought these items, shows me when I might need to buy them again based on how much I have left right now.  And for the future it shows me how much I need to stock up on.  Since baking prices will be at their rock bottom price as we head into the holiday season, I can forecast how much of my grocery budget will require baking ingredients.

Now to truly compare the prices and cost effectiveness, I have to evaluate another month. When I  looked over my receipts from August, here is the break down of what I paid for bread.

  • 4 loaves of sandwich bread – $10
  • 2 packages of sandwich thin bread – $5
  • White Whole Wheat Flour – $3.44
  • All Purpose Flour – $1.88
  • Butter – $1.25
  • Eggs – 0.40

Total Cost – $21.97

The big question is what did I get for $21.97? Only 2 loafs of blueberry bread, 4 loaves of store bought bread, 2 packages of sandwich thin bread and left over flour for September.

Overall, yes it was more cost effective to make all of my bread.  Evaluating how much I spent also helps me see, “Is there ways I can lower the price even more?” Using other money saving techniques such as coupons, rock bottom price or the clearance shelf.

But was it time effective also? I’ll answer that question tomorrow as I wrap of this little 4 week bread challenge series! Until then, I have a question for you.

Do you evaluate the cost of items in your home? If not, give it a try.  It’s a great way to see if something is really cost effective or not, as well as, identify ways to cut the cost by using money saving techniques. 

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My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Week 3

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in 4 Week Bread Challenge, Series | Comments Off on My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Week 3

Hello Friends!

 

It’s has been 3 weeks now since I started baking every loaf of bread for my family. It hasn’t always been easy.  I was tempted last week to buy some as I walked by the bread isle at the grocery store. But I just reminded myself that I had a full batch of Artisan bread dough in the frig and it takes 5 minutes! HA :)  And I’m glad I resisted the temptation because it’s a ton of joy when my family says, “This bread is great!”

This past week I’ve been making sandwich bread, artisan bread and pumpkin muffins.

On Monday, I decided to make a special dinner with diner favorites. My husband loves diner food. We had hamburgers, mac and cheese and chocolate shakes. Yes, all homemade, but I had my grandma’s help!  When I mentioned our meal on Facebook, I had a few friends who instantly wanted to come join us! How fun that would have been to have you all over! That entertaining bug that lives inside of me loves casual dinners with great conversations.

And since we were having hamburgers, we needed  hamburger buns. Using the sandwich bread recipe I raved about last week,  I made a batch of dough, let it rise and then divided the dough into 8 hamburger buns.

I then patiently waited for them to come out of the oven, 20 minutes take so long when your hungry! :)  To give them their glossy store bought finish, I brushed the top of them lightly with butter.

Oh, so good! Definitely a recipe keeper! For breakfast the next morning they were perfect for egg sandwiches. So once again, the bread in the house does disappearing acts! These random acts of disappearing bread  has got to stop! Or should it? :)

What enjoyable food have you been cooking up in your kitchen? I’d love to hear all about it. 

 

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My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Week 2

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in 4 Week Bread Challenge, Recipe Review, Recipes, Series | Comments Off on My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Week 2

My family is really enjoying all the homemade bread I’ve been making the past two weeks. I planned on sharing some pictures of the loaves I’ve made, but for some reason my card reader became a “card eater.” Yes, it erased ALL the pictures from my memory card. I know: it’s super sad! I had craft tutorials and my freezer cooking session on it from this past weekend.

But I’m slowly getting over it! The positive part of my brain says, “It’s okay, that just means you get to do it again!” :)

So I wont be able to show my actual pictures in the review of these recipes, but know that I did have great intention of sharing my own pictures.

Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread

photo credit

By far – hands down we love this bread recipe. This lightly sweetened bread adds tons of flavor when paired with chicken or a fried egg. I found it easy to make the dough with the help of my KitchenAid Mixer.
No kneading for eight minutes was required by my two hands, thanks to this fabulous kitchen invention! This recipe is a whole wheat bread, it is a little more dense then 100% unbleached white flour ,but it is my favorite homemade whole wheat bread. My husband keeps telling me, “You wrote the recipe down right!” My response, “Yes, it’s saved on Pinterest!

Classic Sandwich Bread

photo credit

This recipe by King Author is also a fabulous sandwich bread recipe. In the recipe note, it said that you could substitute up to 1/2 the amount of flour with white whole wheat flour.  I did this to add more nutrition to the bread. I was ecstatic that the bread came out super soft and  was comparable to the softness of  store bought bread. I made a loaf on Saturday and it was all gone by Sunday evening. I guess you could say we, “We loved it!” This one is also pinned on Pinterest.

I can say that two weeks into my little baking adventure has proved to be a family hit! I’ll continue to make these same loaves along with recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for the next 2 weeks.  My next challenge in this adventure to calculate the cost of each loaf.  I will be sharing this information with you later this month.

My question for you all today is: what is your favorite homemade bread recipe? If it is a recipe online, I would love for you to share the link. 

Sharing today at Tasty Tuesday and Women Living Well.

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My 4 Week Bread Challenge – Week 1

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in 4 Week Bread Challenge, Series | 2 comments

I mentioned on Monday I was going to make all of our bread for the month of September. That morning, I decided to start my plan and see how it would work. Usually when I do a make-a-head or freezer cooking session, I aim to keep it simple – no more then 3 recipes at one time. Since I decided to tackle 6 recipes, it took me quite a bit longer then planned: four hours in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. (Some of this time was inactive prep time: for the bread dough to rise.)

Here is my kitchen covered in flour and sugar. I don’t remember how long it has been since I made that much mess in the kitchen! Oh ya, yesterday when I made dinner! :)

I couldn’t have accomplished of this work with out my Little Buddy helping out!  Here he is rolling out the dough for the dinner biscuits! Next time I’ll teach him how to kneed the dough for sandwich bread. :)

 At the end of the day we were able to make: two loaves of english muffin bread, four bags of  blueberry bread mix, four bags of corn bread mix, two bags of sandwich bread mix, one loaf of artisan bread, one loaf of sandwich bread, eight hamburger buns and two batches of biscuits (not pictured). WHEW! Are you  tired from reading the list? Me too! Or am I tired because I just made all that bread?

I also realized that the bread mixes stored in the plastic-ware took up too much space in my refrigerator.  I decided to downsize them to quart size storage bags. Which worked better for storing my bread mixes. (I put them in the refrigerator since most of the recipes have whole wheat flour in them.)

It was a long day of baking bread and making mixes.  But my family has already gobbled up the hamburger buns, enjoyed english muffin bread for breakfasts and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch – as a result to making bread!

Will I do it again? Yes, but on a much smaller scale and I will keep it to just two or three bread recipes in an hours time.  Instead of six bread recipes that take – pretty much all day to make! :)

Have you baked any bread lately for your family? If not, click on some of the links in this post. They are all amazing recipes. Well, our family loves them and we hope you do too!

 

 

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