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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baking bread from scratch DOES take a lot of time

Baking from scratch isn't feasible, time-wise, on a daily basis. I do have other things to attend to! But that doesn't mean that my family need go hungry, or skip out on grains, ever.

When I just don't have time/energy to bake bread, rolls, or other items to go with meals, I simply switch out the bread that I might have made,with a starchy food that takes less time and energy. A potato takes only minutes to "bake" in the microwave, compared to the an hour or more to bake muffins, rolls or bread to go with a meal. A pot of rice requires minutes of hands-on time. No toast for breakfast? Oatmeal-for-a-crowd can be made in the microwave in minutes.

A family can still exercise frugality in meal preparation, without daily baking, just by choosing other, low-cost, but time friendly, starchy foods, such as oats, rice and potatoes. When I know I will be in a time crunch for a week, then I save any homemade bread I have for to-go or on-the-run meals. Then at dinners, and other meals at home, we eat those quick or easy grains and starches. And to keep rice, potatoes or oats from being ho-hum and boring, I think about these starchy alternatives as I would the desired bread product. If my plan had been to make French bread pizza for dinner, but I’m out of French bread or buns of any kind, then I might make pizza rice, topping plain rice with all of the usual pizza toppings. Or, if I had hoped to have toast for breakfast, I also know that oatmeal with my favorite toast toppings of peanut butter and jam is quite delicious. And if I had wanted to serve toasted cheese sandwiches with a bowl of soup, but all out of bread, well then, a microwaved potato, topped with cheddar is also yummy.

I remember growing up, it seemed like a crisis if we were out of bread. Someone in the house would be sent out to the grocery store to pick up a loaf, because what would we eat if we didn't have bread?! The same thing with milk. If we were out of milk, well what on earth would we eat for breakfast the next day?! And I know that my childhood household was not alone in this type of thinking. This is common. Whoever plans the meals/does the shopping realizes that the house is out of some common food item, and makes that last-minute rush out to the store.

Well, at least with bread products, this family has found many solutions to the all out of bread problem.  And yes, I am enjoying a bowl of yummy oatmeal, topped with jam and peanut butter, this morning for my breakfast!


  1. Yes, baking bread does take a long time! I haven't purchased bread in over 6 years and will make my two weeks' worth on Saturday mornings. With only three in the house this year we only make six loaves every two weeks. With summer coming we will have everyone home so the bread consumption will increase. I make three loaves of sourdough whole wheat white bread and three loaves of sourdough cracked wheat per two weeks. That is going to change to 12 loaves per two weeks.

    We also like rice, potatoes and oatmeal as "fillers" and I really like: The kids don't exactly like this but I do. But we all eat a lot of rice.

    When I make my bread I do so on Saturday since I'm home catching up on laundry, cleaning, yard work after working my outside the home job M-F. I can get it done by about noon or shortly thereafter all the while doing my inside chores. In the afternoon is outside chores and if I need to do shopping or visiting then that is what the afternoon is for!


    1. Hi Alice,
      that's so wonderful that you can get all your baking in on 2 Saturday mornings per month! I know it can be done, most of the time, for a lot of folks!

      I try to bake raised bread every other week, as well. With 5 of us eating it all, it does go quickly, and some weeks we run out before new baking is scheduled. Like this week, I won't and haven't been home, to do a baking during the day for about 9 days straight, due to volunteer and paid work commitments. So, we are eating a lot of brown rice, potatoes and oatmeal to stretch what little bread is left, until Friday, when I will be home for several hours during the day. But it's working, so that's what counts.

  2. You are so diligent about baking bread for your family! I typically buy our bread and make homemade to go with soup. I have a few throw-together quick bread recipes which I pull out from time to time if I think a meal will be tasty with a side of bread. We also rely on potatoes, rice, pasta, and oatmeal. Couscous is pricier but a fun (and speedy) side dish occasionally.

    I like your techniques for adapting other starches (pizza rice, for instance) the same way you would use bread.

    1. Kris,

      I guess "diligence" is a word to describe our bread baking but I have to say it was more of a necessity. I disliked all the "fluffy" breads out there made with ingredients I couldn't even say. I also would buy at the day-old bread store but about 90+% of the time there was mold on the bread. I decided to cut almost all store bought bread out totally to make sure we had a wholesome loaf on our table. Bread making in my house is NOT perfect since sometimes I get dense, hard-as-rock loaves for some reason and other times I get nice fluffy loaves. I still haven't figured out bread baking!


    2. Thanks, Kris.
      I had a favorite brand of bread for a long time. I think it was made by Pacific Bread Co. But I only ever saw it at our wholesaler. Eventually it became too expensive for us, around $3 per loaf, even at wholesale prices,, and we would go through 3 loaves per week. But it was good bread. I haven't seen it at the wholesaler in a while now.

      Yes, we do pasta, as well. It makes a very quick starchy side. Dollar Tree has Pagasa brand spaghetti and macaroni for 66 cents per pound, which is the best we can do for white pasta around here (even beats the wholesaler's sale prices).

  3. Rushing out to the store probably means not getting the best price, as well as time loss and extra gas to run the errand, plus it leads to other spur of the moment purchases...I notice some people are flexible and can do without while others must have what they think they can't live without. I guess that is why frugality is not for everyone. I was a bit surprised at some of your suggestions: pizza rice, peanut butter and jelly in oatmeal although as a child my mother routinely topped my oatmeal with jelly since she probably thought it was better for my health. I did not enjoy that one bit, but maybe I should try adding some peanut butter to the oatmeal and jelly!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      I think I read that when a consumer runs out to the store to pick up one item, that on average they pick up 7 other items, as spontaneous extra purchases.

      It may be a personal thing, but we think peanut butter and wheat germ are good in oatmeal, and a great way to boost the nutritional content. When one of my daughters was in the rapid weight restoration phase of recovery from an eating disorder, I would make her a bowl of oatmeal that had everything but the kitchen sink -- canned pumpkin, peanut butter, maple syrup, chopped nuts, dried apples, wheat germ, whole milk -- whatever I could think of to boost the total calorie count. She thought it was very good!

  4. When I young, we always had to have milk in the house. My father grew up on a farm and dairy products were a must in his mind. However, the store was only a short walk away and my mother would usually send one of the kids to pick it up while supper was being made. Bread was important too, but not critical like milk.

    I don't bake bread often. We're not big bread eaters except when it comes fresh out of the oven. Then we all eat more than we need to. So, like Kris, I usually just bake some to go with soup. Like the examples you mentioned, we always have plenty of other starches around.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      How convenient that there was a store so close for your family. Do you remember when stores closed around 6 PM? And were never open on Sunday? I remember a few late Saturday afternoon scrambles to get milk, bread and butter, to tide us over until Monday!

    2. I do remember those times and wish to go back to them sometimes.

    3. I do, too! I remember Sunday afternoons, if we were out visiting or something, the roads were fairly empty. I just wish there wasn't always so much rushing around 24/7.


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