With 52 years’ experience as a homemaker, I have come across several ways to cut costs in the kitchen. Granted, when it comes to saving money, the time it takes always has to be weighed against the amount you save, but there is the added bonus of homemade goodness as well as the assurance of knowing exactly what you are eating. And of course, you need to shop around for the most economical raw materials.
In baking bread, I stock up on generic flour whenever it comes on sale in the 10-kilo size. As yeast varies greatly in price, I shop around for the one-pound packages, which I store in the freezer. I buy canola oil in the three-litre size and then supplement it in a number of ways. For brown bread I mix it with the strained drippings I save from the frying pan. When preparing chickens for frying or roasting, I freeze the bits and pieces of fat until I have enough to render in the microwave. Used half and half with the oil, it gives buns a wonderful flavour. I also freeze any water I drain off cooked veggies and use it in my yeast doughs (and also in soups and gravies).
Using the above methods, I tallied up the cost of all the ingredients I baked recently. For $12 I made 20 loaves of brown bread, nine dozen white buns and six pans (nine inches in diameter) of cinnamon rolls.
Doing your own baking is one of the most cost-effective ways of saving money, but it takes time, and practise makes perfect. The first batch of buns I ever baked could have been used as cannon balls! When it comes to yeast dough, the aroma of home-baked bread is incentive enough to try it.
And don’t use the excuse that you will eat more and therefore gain weight. Only your wallet will become heavier because of the money you save. I found out years ago that when homemade bread became an everyday staple, the family ate no more than usual, and perhaps even less, because it was much more satisfying.
– Alma Barkman writes from Winnipeg