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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Baking

Frugal Kitchens 101

According to the results of our latest poll: out of 41 votes 51% (21) baked less than 1 a week; 34% (14) baked 1 to 3 times a week; 4% baked 4 - 6 (2) times a week; 4% (2) baked daily; and 4% (2) did not know they had an oven. If the extremes are removed, then the average reader here baking somewhere in the 1 to 3 times a week. That is a fairly good number.

Home baking can save a considerable amount of money in comparison to store bought bakery products. Baking really falls under a couple of categories but the two main ones are baking entirely from scratch or baking using ready made doughs or mixes. Some use a combined method in which everything is scratch except a certain ingredient such as puff pastry, phyllo dough or pie crust. By far the cheapest for home baked products is entirely from scratch. The most expensive for home baking often coming in at close to the store bought price is baking entirely from mixes. In between these two is the happy medium of using a pre-made ingredient or two with the rest from scratch that often becomes the more frugal choice for home baking.

Let's face it some despite multiple attempts some just cannot make a good pie dough so rather than waste the ingredients and time, buying a pre-made pie dough is a reasonable alternative. At the same time both phyllo dough and puff pastry are time consuming and can be very frustrating to make. I follow the tip from some of the food channel chefs and use store bought. On the other hand most store bought cake mixes, bread mixes, refrigerator doughs, cookie doughs and those types of things really are not a good value for your dollar. For example, a package of refrigerator cinnamon buns will cost about $2.50 for 8 buns. The made from scratch ingredients will cost about 30¢ for 12 so clearly you are paying for the convience of the refrigerator buns. The same holds true to other mixes and doughs. If you want the convenience of mixes and pre-made doughs, take a few minutes to make your own.

Homemade refrigerator/freezer slice and bake cookie dough will take about 10 minutes total from measuring to freezer. Homemade cake, cookie and bread mixes can be made assembly line style in about 10 minutes for about 6 to 10 mason jars. Bread dough can be made in less than 5 minutes in a bread machine or stand mixer, remove just after the knead then package in zipper style freezer bags. When you want a fresh loaf of bread remove and let thaw and proof then bake. Just using the above examples you could have a considerable amount of homemade mixes in the pantry and bread dough in the freezer by investing about 25 minutes of time. The bonus to this is of course the substantial amount of money you save.


4 food lovers commented:

Chey can cook! (and more) said...

i love saving $ on groceries, especially baked good - sometimes i just NEED those grocery store-made sugar cookies, but i prefer to bake myself:)

A Year on the Grill said...

in my temporary relocation, anything labor intensive is very expensive. Baking is good for the soul, but it also saves a LOT of money

Garden Gnome said...

Chey I can understand. A lot of times these NEED foods are stemmed in our childhood or connected with a good event so they stick with us for life.

Garden Gnome said...

Dave, I am following your temporary relocation to such a beautiful area. What a difference location makes! Making from scratch likely will still save you a lot of money.