Homemade vs. Store-bought: Bread

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March 18, 2011 by Leah

Onward from crackers. Let’s tackle bread.

I make 1-3 loaves of bread per week depending on whether we are eating toast and sandwiches and what kind of entertaining we are doing. (This week we have not needed a lot of bread since we have enough leftover baked oatmeal to feed all the feral cats in the neighborhood. Of which there are many.) Ninety percent of the time I make a basic sourdough bread because it’s what I know. It has run the quality gamut from immediate breadcrumbs to delectable, which is part of the fun of working with fermented foods like sourdough (and lazy cooks like me). My sourdough loaves (which I usually bake in my grandma’s breadpans) are, like most homemade bread, smaller and denser than the average store-bought loaf. We get about twelve slices out of each loaf.

Risen and ready to go into the oven

The ingredients are: sourdough starter (which is about half flour and half water and was originally based on a culture my mother dried and sent me and I couldn’t revive until I pulverized the dried discs of her starter in the coffee grinder and mixed the results with some water – sourdough dries really hard), flour, and water. Salt if you’re feeling profligate and baking soda if you’re feeling daring.

Since the only major investment on that list is flour, and 2.5 cups of flour works out to be $.71, then we spend $.71 per loaf of bread. (This works well with two people. If our family eventually expands I might have to experiment with bigger bread, but smaller loaves get eaten before they can go stale.)

Prior to our real food conversion, Aaron tended to buy grainy breads like Oroweat’s 100% Whole Wheat, and I tended to buy extravagant breads like crusty loaves from the in-store bakery section. (And then I tended to eat the entire extravagant loaf in one sitting. I still miss L’Aroma’s rosemary bread.)

Oroweat’s 100% Whole Wheat retails for $4.59 at Albertson’s and the ingredients are:

Whole wheat flour, water, sugar, wheat gluten, yeast, extract of raisins, salt, wheat bran, cracked wheat, molasses, soybean oil, calcium propionate (preservative), sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono- and diglycerides, calcium sulfate, honey, soy lecithin, azodicarbonamide.

Um, yeah. No brainer, here. Homemade is lighter on the wallet and the additives.


Baked and ready to eat.


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