Frugal Foodie Kitchen Investment: A Bread Machine

I am on my fourth bread machine in 16 years.  The first three I got for free:  the first, as a wedding present, the second and third from asking for one on Freecycle.org.  (You never know until you ask!)

The fourth, and hopefully, last one for a very long time, is one I bought on sale in May 2011 with a 30% off coupon from Kohls.  (For my purchase, I also received $30 of Kohl’s Cash, which I used to buy a Consumer Reports Best Buy Blender called the Ninja Master Professional Prep Triple Play, which I use for making pico de gallo, but I digress!)

My Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine has proven to measure up to all of the high marks I had read about it before purchasing.  I got it for $186, when it retailed for close to $300 elsewhere.

I use it at least once, if not twice, a week to make an organic loaf of bread for our family of five.  I also use it to make dinner rolls and the very occasional pizza dough.  (I much prefer to make the pizza dough by hand, mainly because it’s quicker than using the bread machine! See my previous post.)

Putting together the ingredients and setting the timer takes 10 – 15 minutes tops!  Having a big loaf of bread baked overnight makes owning a bread machine so worth it!

Consider that at the store, organic whole grain breads sell for at least $3.00/loaf for way less than 2 lbs.

I just measure the flour first in a bowl and set it aside.  Then I add all the other ingredients, in order of the following recipes, into the bread pain.  I set the timer to whatever time I’d like it to be ready, usually allowing for twenty minutes for it cool before cutting for breakfast.

Ingredients in the pan, ready to go!

Basic 2 lb/32 oz loaf 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe – organic, GMO-ingredient free, preservative-free:

1  7/8 c. warm water

5 c.  organic whole wheat bread flour  ($.79/lb) = $ .60

3 T.  organic brown sugar ($.13/oz.) = $ .20

2 T.  organic dry milk ($.50/oz)  = $ .40

2 t.  sea salt ($.09/oz) $ .02

2 T.  butter ($ .09/T. Trader Joes) = $ .18

2 t.  active dry yeast ($.20/oz) = $ .04

TOTAL = $1.44

After a few years of tinkering with bread-machine-manual recipes and ones I’ve gotten online, I have come up with my own 2-lb/32 oz whole grain loaf recipe that is cholesterol-free, organic, GMO-ingredient-free, and preservative-free:

 1  7/8  c. warm water

2 T.  organic coconut milk (refridgerated)  ($.05/oz) = $ .05

2 ½ T.  organic coconut oil  ($.43/oz) = $ .65

3 T.  honey (raw honey is so good for you $.38/oz)  = $ .57

2 T.  organic brown sugar ($.13/oz) = $ .11

3 c.  organic whole wheat bread flour ($.79/ lb) = $ .60

2 c.  organic (artisan bread flour $1.07/lb or unbleached white flour $.87/lb) = $ .54 or .44

2 t. fine sea salt ($.09/oz) $ .02

2 t. active dry yeast  ($.20/oz) = $ .04

TOTAL = $2.58 with artisan bread flour /$2.48 with unbleached white flour

Ready for slicing! This handy slicer is available online.

The prices are from my food co-op, with the exception of the Nutiva coconut oil, which I buy through an “Subscribe and Save” account (free) on amazon.com.

Have fun experimenting with your own recipes or stick to the ones in the bread machine manual book.  Either way, enjoy freshly baked bread with ingredients you know and recognize.  As I like to say, Health is Wealth!

Stay tuned for other Frugal Foodie Kitchen Investment write-ups!

~Aimee, TFF

The Frugal Foodie Cookbook–Book Review

Any book with the word “frugal” in its title gets my attention, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find The Frugal Foodie Cookbook by Alanna Kaufman and Alex Small. But I didn’t read the fine print–or the subtitle before grabbing it off of my library’s shelf–it’s a cookbook with gourmet recipes for any budget. Gourmet is the key word–with some main dish seafood recipes costing up to $6.75. (I know…fish is not the most frugal of foods– I was hoping to find a seafood recipe, fit for my kids other than fish sticks, that would cost total $6.75!) 

I have two young kids who are not into gourmet foods–still lingering a bit in the chicken nugget and taco phase! So, unfortunately, this isn’t quite the book for me….or for anyone with young kids. The authors live in New York City, and that’s a whole different world of “frugality” from Fairfield, CT. Though I don’t think my kids would get a kick out of Apricot Brandy Baked French Toast, they do love French Toast–and I’d love to see a recipe for a few pennies a serving.  However, there are definitely two recipes I’m aiming to try two family friendly recipes I found in the book: Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges ($1.50 a serving) and Banana-Chocolate Muffins ($.85 a serving). Sounds delicious! There is a recipe called Luckiest Muffins–but it’s made with Lucky Charms and I don’t think I’d feed that to my kids. 

What I like about the book: each recipe has a price per serving–to be fair, the prices per serving average in the $2 to $3 range. 

What I dislike about the book: not the most family friendly bunch of recipes with higher than hoped for cost-per-servings. 

Good tip in book: there are “ten Frugal Foodie Tips” — one–freezing herbs in ice cubes instead of letting them go bad in the fridge! Great advice! 

The Frugal Foodie Cookbook--gourmet recipes good for empty-nesters and child-free families.