What foods are cheaper to make at home?

punamytsikeSeptember 16, 2008

I am thinking of making my own whole wheat bread, pizza and chicken wings for starters. Do you think I will save money compared to buying ready made from store?

What else have you found to be cheaper to make by yourself?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bake all of our bread and make our own pizza .... both much much cheaper. I can bake bread for around .50 a loaf.

We have a garden plus lots of my friends are truck farmers so we can everything that doesn't move. I do fruits, jams, jellies, veggies, catsup, salsa, pickles, mustard, some ice cream toppings. Some things are bargains -- some are not. If I raise my own green beans -- great deal. Not so much if I have to buy them. Sweet corn is the same way. BUT the quality and nutritional value is so much better, I'll pay extra.

Baking cookies and cakes from scratch is much cheaper also.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What foods are cheaper to make at home???

Answer: All of them.

You will always save money by preparing your own food rather than buying processed boxed food.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not all....

Well, I don't know many people who can make their own Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs!

Just messing around LOL! I agree that homemade is cheaper, but you just can't 'home make' everything!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't bought a pre-made cereal in 5 years. We eat oatmeal (old-fashioned rolled flakes -- no flavors) and I make granola. Period.

What can't you "home make"? Ya may have to alter your taste buds a bit (no cocoa puffs!) -- but I can't think of anything we eat -- that I can't make. I don't make aged cheese -- but lots of people do. And i can easily make yogurt-cheese.

You have basic ingredients that can't be manufactured. But that about it.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

The majority of our foods are from scratch. One that comes to mind as cheaper is a white sauce (very easy) to use in place of canned cream of whatever soup in many recipes. Marinades are much cheaper when made by you, etc. While I could certainly prepare it myself, I find ketchup to be one thing that is just easier to purchase (I don't have access to that many tomatoes at this time, the ones I do have will be making starter tomato sauce for the freezer).

How much money you save depends on how you shop and how you cook. A batch of homemade brownies is not a significant savings over a box bought on sale as a loss leader. Even though the savings are not always significant, I have more control over the ingredients and the quality of my homemade goods. If I bake it, there is no hydrogenated oils, I can reduce the sugar (depending on the good, in some things sugar plays an important role in the structure); I can replace some of the white flour with wheat flour, add ground up flax seed, reduce salt, adjust seasonings, etc.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 12:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well I guess you got me on that one. I was talking about food and I don't consider Cocoa Puffs to fall into that category. That's just me though. I am wrong quite often. I suppose we could add soda pop to the list of foods we can't make cheaper at home. And Cheese Whiz. And marshmallows.

The OP mentioned baking bread, assembling pizza, and seasoning and frying chicken wings. Yes, all those things would not only be cheaper but better for you than buying those same items frozen and boxed.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for your input :) I was hoping that the stuff I am planning to make from scratch will be cheaper than buying made from store :)

Clink, would you mind sharing how do you make your granola and yogurt?


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 6:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's all perception!

My brother would definitely call Cocoa Puffs 'food' as he eats it every morning. Personally, I think it is gross...

Whereas I think that the chicken wings the OP wants to make are nothing but grease on bone... NOT 'food' to me!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 8:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can't ALWAYS make them cheaper, but you can nearly always make them better (for you), as others pointed out.

Any time you are paying someone else to do the work for you when it comes to food, you are going to pay a premium price for it. Whole chickens always cost less than a chicken piece or part when you check the unit pricing - and I ALWAYS check the unit pricing of all the food I purchase. By cutting up whole chickens, you can divide them into "pieces" and freeze them accordingly. Save the backs for making soup or broth. Wings for hot wings, breast meat can be made into your own baked version of Chicken Tenders that even the kids will love instead of frozen chicken nuggets....etc. Whole carrots are less expensive than the highly processed "baby" carrots....

Another money-saving tip: Purchase frozen concentrate orange, apple or grape juice - the ones that are 100% real juice where you add 3 containers of water - it's a fraction of the price (per serving) as the ready-to-serve stuff found in the refrigerator case, and even more savings over individual juice containers. Save even more money on juice by portioning the juice in REAL serving sizes (a serving of juice for an adult is 3/4 c.).

Anything that comes in individual sizes is ALWAYS more expensive when you figure unit pricing. Individual packages of chips, pudding, fruit... Portion your foods yourself and save money.

I've found the best way to save on the food budget is to FIRST set a budget amount and stick to it. The food budget is for FOOD only. For hubby and me that's $50/week. So far this year I've spent $1,786.05 out of $1,900.

I focus on whole foods, therefore I eliminate most of the highly processed foods in our diet to begin with. Whole foods make meal preparation simple. Whole foods are Mother Nature's original "fast food" - wash, cut, and eat; and whole foods are generally higher in nutrition and fiber than commercially prepared foods. I also have short-cut methods for preparing many of these foods. So instead of buying a can of black beans to use in a salad or dish, I "cook" dried black beans in a Thermos for pennies.

I dehydrate or freeze a lot of food from the garden. Free apples we picked ourselves recently quickly become our #1 snack food in the form of dehydrated apples. Dehydrated apples are quickly made into cobblers, pies, and applesauce. We use dehydrated zucchini slices like potato chips - better for us and inexpensive to grow and make.

I'm another person who bakes all their breads. I mill my own flour and that's always less expensive than commercial flour. Using freshly-milled flour also assures you are getting the 25 vitamins, minerals and proteins, as well as the high fiber benefit of the bran and the freshest oil possible from the wheat germ that is only available when it's freshly-milled.

I use a wide variety of whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts in our diet, along with wheat. Most of these are inexpensive foods to build a diet around.

Gifts-In-A-Jar type recipes are what I use for some of my "convenience" foods. That way I can control the ingredients (no preservatives and chemicals) and they look just as good in my pantry as they do as a gift. I vacuum-seal them shut using the lid attachment for my FoodSaver.

When it comes to commercial cereal, you are paying exorbitant prices for a few cents of highly processed grain. The high price of commercial cereals is in the packaging and advertisement. Try limiting cereal use by making muffins instead, or make up a batch of pancakes and French toast and keep them in the freezer for easy use. Switch to homemade breakfast burritos (http://tipnut.com/how-to-make-breakfast-burritos/). We have whole wheat toast and peanut butter twice a week for breakfast - add a piece of fruit - how simple is that?

I never purchase commercial cereals, and haven't for years. They are a total waste of money. I make my own cereals from whole grains. I mill my own flakes, (chopped) multi-grain cereal blends (used for cooked cereal and add-ins to yeast/sourdough breads), farina (cream-of-wheat and cream-of-rice). I even make my own bulgur. I also make granola and a dried whole wheat cereal similar to Grape Nuts. "Cereal" around our house costs pennies.

Check your library for copies of "Make-A-Mix Cookery" and "MORE Make-A-Mix Cookery" by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward & Madeline Westover. Lots of great recipes and ideas that will help with "cheap eats".

Another great book is "CHEAP. FAST. GOOD!" by Beverly Mills & Alicia Ross. Great make-it-yourself recipes for those formerly expensive pre-packaged foods.

Back in the early 80's when I had kids at home, I used the book, "Make Your Own Groceries" by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig as a guide for making my own convenience foods, and that's where I got started.

I use a whey-based milk substitute (powdered milk - Morning Moo's www.moosmilk.com), and have used one brand or another for over 25 years. I make my own mixes for pudding, pancakes, hot cocoa mix, Bisquick-type mix, creamed soup, etc. using this product. We also use it for drinking. It's the one dried milk product that actually tastes like store milk.

A 50-pound amount of Morning Moo's will yield 70-gallons of milk - $1.65 per gallon ($115.99/50#). I usually get it in the 24.25# bucket, unless I can find someone to split the 50# with ($2.07-gallon - $72.49/24.25#).

I make homemade kefir (milk + real kefir grains). Kefir is a fermented dairy product that has a curd similar to yogurt. The beauty of kefir is that you use the kefir grains over and over (virtually forever) and you can make kefir at room temperature in a quart canning jar - no special equipment (see: Dom's Kefir In-Site - http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html for more information). I used to make yogurt all the time, but it's more finicky to make than kefir. I use homemade kefir as a substitute for plain yogurt, buttermilk, cream cheese and sour cream.

Pizza is a great way to save money. Even if you use one of the inexpensive commercial pizza crust mixes from the store (I think they cost something like 59 cents and are easy to make) - improve the nutrition by adding a couple T. of flaxmeal (which you ALSO save money by purchasing the whole seeds and milling it in a coffee mill at home).

I make up a batch of homemade sourdough pizza dough and make a bunch of small pizza crusts (8-inch crusts are large enough for the two of us for one meal), par-bake them, and then wrap them in plastic wrap, place them in a zip-lock bag and freeze them. They thaw in a few minutes, while you are topping them.

A little hint.... Use the salad bar at the grocery store for pizza toppings. If you don't normally use green onions but would like them on your pizza, you won't have to purchase a whole bunch of them and they won't go to waste hidden in the refrigerator. Purchase a 1/4 c. of sliced mushrooms instead of a whole package of mushrooms, or when bell peppers are costing a fortune in the winter, get a small amount that are already chopped at the salad bar. It's cheaper than wasted food in the crisper drawer.

BTW - you CAN make soda/pop cheaper at home. It's just one more thing people don't know they can easily make. Water, yeast, sugar or honey (I use low-glycemic agave nectar) flavoring, and an old 2-liter soda bottle or a gallon glass jug (cider often comes in them this time of the year). Root Beer and Ginger Ale are easy to make, and you can purchase other flavorings like "cola". Unfortunately, if you drink large quantities of the stuff, you may find you need an extra refrigerator to store it in, and THAT'S not a cost-saver. Check your library for a copy of "Homemade Root Beer, Soda, & Pop" by Stephen Cresswell. If you resort to making homemade pop/soda, I guarantee you WILL reduce your consumption (LOL). You can also Google homemade root beer that's made in a recycled 2-litre soda bottle.

I'll put some of my favorite recipes in another post.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think that every human being should learn the basics of baking bread. Once you know that you can pretty much feed yourself. Its kinda like the old "teach a man to fish" saying.

All the above comments are true except they contort the foundation of the "convenience" of convenience foods. Fast foods and snack foods are successful because you don't prepare them or clean up much afterwards - someone else did all the chopping and slicing and baking and kitchen clean up for you, thats what you're paying for.

If you have plenty of spare time and don't mind cleaning a kitchen or washing dishes than preparing all your own food is never a problem. I only wish you would aim your sights higher than pizza and wings.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Granola recipe (I call it granola for old people!)

4 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 c wheat germ
1/2 c powdered milk
1 c. coconut (I some times leave this out)
1/2 - 3/4 c ground flax meal
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 canola oil
1/2 c honey
1 Tbsp vanilla

Heat the oil, honey and vanilla for one minute in microwave and stir in mixed ingredients. I bake it for one hour at 250 degrees.

When it has cooled...... I add walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews etc. about 1 cup of those. Then another cup of a dried fruit -- craisins, raisins, chopped dates,chopped apricots. And then about 1/2-3/4 c of sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
You can also add sesame seeds .... about 1/2 cup.

What is great about this .... you can make it to exactly your taste.

the extra powdered milk adds more calcium to the diet and the wheat germ and flax seed are so important.

We eat yogurt and granola instead of sweet desserts in the evening. 1 c of yogurt and 1/2 c of granola is the perfect serving.

Grainlady -- you said you use agave nectar. I have started using it instead of honey at times on my oatmeal ..... but can I heat it?? And do you cut the amount by half? And how do you sub it in baking?


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My hangup with cooking has been recipes. I found this frugal cooking website a while back. I'm going to try a few things to see if I like it. Some of the items aren't as healthy as I'd like, but they'd be better than that fast food I'm tempted to have when I'm in a hurry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miserly Moms - Frugal Recipes

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Grainlady, Thank you so much for such an informative post :)

trianglejohn, your last paragraph - "If you have plenty of spare time and don't mind cleaning a kitchen or washing dishes than preparing all your own food is never a problem. I only wish you would aim your sights higher than pizza and wings." - was not really called for. You know nothing about me and you are assuming very wrong. We already cook most of our meals from scratch. These were the last few things that I buy ready-made from the store.

Cathy, your granola recipe is very much appreciated. I will try it :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Grainlady, Do you have any more cookbook recommendations to share. I have seen many of your food related posts in the past and I am definitely intrigued to learn more, especially about the grains and kefir. I am also interested in some cost effective ways of exploring options like the agave nectar. I saw it at Trader Joe's and will probably try to purchase some next time. I often purchase locally produced honey but that is also quite expensive.

I cook a large batches of beans in the crockpot and then freeze. I am feeding 6 so thermos cooking produces insufficient quantities for me.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Punamytsike - I agree with the above posters, you can make most foods cheaper at home. I do 99.9% scratch cooking in my home. I freeze smaller portions and can always find something to put on the table between what is in the deep freeze, in the cupboard or in the fridge. We eat a variety of dishes and I never throw away a thing if I can help it. I have been offered many things over the years - turkeys - because the original purchaser decided a whole bird was too much, bags of produce - surplus tomatoes, beans, rhubarb, apples. I take it all and always use it somehow. I can, freeze, dry items....I have quite a collection of cookbooks but most are second hand and are of the basic kind, meaning you start with flour, sugar, etc. instead of the ones I often see stating take one package of spice cake mix, add a jar of cherries.......I make, adjust and try new things all the time. Some are successes and some I'm afraid are not ravers but we eat it all...Start to chart your food budget and you will see how much your family gains moneywise. It should not take long but with scratch cooking for a couple months will make a difference to your wallet. Budster

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Granola recipes are as varied as the people who make them. This is the recipe I developed that is higher in protein and lower in carbs. I have two friends who would be upset if I didn't give them some of this for Christmas. We use it for all kinds of things, including as a pat-in pie crust after it's whizzed in the blender and mixed with a little coconut oil and agave nectar, not just "cereal". Makes a great snack, or a topping for yogurt or kefir.


1/8 c. sesame seeds (or buckwheat kasha)
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 c. raw cashews
1/2 c. pecans
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds (raw, dry roasted, salted - any kind)
1/2 c. UNsweetened coconut flakes
2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal
Mix all together in a large container and spread out on a jelly roll pan.

Stir together:
3 T. coconut oil, melted (or 1/4 c. vegetable oil)
1/4 c. Agave Nectar (or honey)
2 T. maple syrup

Mix the liquid ingredients with the nut/oatmeal mixture. Bake in a 300F oven for 30-40 minutes, stir with a wooden spoon a couple times during the baking time.

Cool completely and keep refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container.

Good-For-You Baking Mix
(works in any recipe that calls for Bisquick)

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (I use freshly-milled spelt.)
3 c. whole wheat flour (I use hard white spring or winter wheat - freshly-milled)
3/4 c. Morning Moo's whey-based milk substitute powder (or Nestle NIDO dry whole milk powder - found with the Latino foods at Wal-Mart)
1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 c. cornmeal (I mill my own.)
1/4 c. flaxmeal
3 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. softened coconut oil (or butter)

In a large container, combine all the dry ingredients. Cut in the coconut oil or butter with a pastry blender until evenly dispersed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you plan on using it quickly, or freezer for longer storage.

Recipes using Good-For-You Baking Mix:

1/2 c. active sourdough starter
1/2 c. milk (OR yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream or nut milk - your choice)
1 egg (or egg replacer)
1 T. fat (I use coconut oil, but butter or vegetable oil work well)
1/2 c. Good-For-You Baking Mix
1/2 t. baking soda

In a small bowl mix the baking mix and soda together.

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, mix the milk, fat and heat in a microwave to take the chill off the ingredients. Add the egg and mix well. Add the starter and mix again.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir ONLY until the dry and liquid ingredients are mixed.

Cook on a griddle or waffle iron. Yield: 6 small pancakes or 4 small waffles.

Good-For-You Baking Mix - PIZZA CRUST
(this is a light, biscuit-like crust, not a chewy crust)

1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
2-1/4 c. Good-For-You Baking Mix
1/2 c. warm water (120°F-130°F)
Pizza Sauce
Toppings and cheese

To make crust:
In a mixing bowl, combine yeast and baking mix. Add 1/2 c. warm water and stir to mix. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; with oiled hands, knead for 2 minutes. Turn the bowl over the dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with Pam and dust with flour. Pat the dough onto the pizza pan, working from the center out, using the heel of your hand. Build up the edge. Bake in a 425° oven for 10 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown. Remove from the oven and add the sauce and toppings. Bake in a 425°F oven for 10-20 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and pizza is heated through.

Good-For-You Baking Mix - BISCUITS
3 c. baking mix
1 c. plain yogurt (you can also use flavored yogurt for a new taste)

Combine baking mix and yogurt JUST until moistened. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in 425°F preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 16 drop biscuits.


3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (I use freshly-milled spelt)
2 c. whole wheat flour (I use freshly-milled flour from hard white wheat)
1 c. multi-grain cereal used for cooked cereal (looks like chopped cereal and comes 5-grain, 7-grain, 11-grain, etc.)
1 c. cornmeal
5 T. baking powder
4 T. flaxmeal
1 T. sugar
1 T. baking soda

Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make 6 small pancakes:

Lightly beat one egg with 1/2 c. of one of the following (your choice): yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, milk, nut milk.

Optional: Add 1 T. softened butter

Stir in 1/2 c. pancake mix. Do NOT over-stir. Ladel out the batter on a pre-heated griddle. If batter is too thick, add a little milk.

I came up with this mix last year. It works for either hot cocoa, or chocolate pudding.

3/4 c. Morning Moo's whey-based milk substitute powder (or Nestle NIDO whole milk powder)
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated (I use a baking bar Ghirardelli 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate - for the health benefits of 100% Cacao)

Combine all dry ingredients. Finely grate the bittersweet chocolate. Mix with dry ingredients.

To make cocoa: Add 2 T. of the mix to 1 c. milk. Heat until hot - 6-7 minutes.

For 2 servings of pudding: 1/3 c. mix, 3/4 c. water, 2 T. coconut oil and 1-1/2 T. cornstarch. Cook over low-medium heat until it comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and add 1 t. vanilla. Mix well and pour into serving dishes. 1 t. almond extract also works well in this pudding. Top the serving dishes of pudding with toasted, chopped almonds. Add 1 t. coconut extract, instead of vanilla. Add some unsweetened coconut - fine shred. Top the pudding with some toasted coconut shreds.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I dug in my files and found some information I once used in a foods class I taught several years ago. This may give punamytsike information to come up with the REAL numbers she needs for convenience VS homemade.

Source: Cost & Nutrition Analysis - Convenience vs. Homemade Foods

"Making pizza from scratch will cost you about 75 cents a serving. Purchasing it ready to cook from the Deli case at the grocery store will actually cost you less, about 57 cents a serving. Depending on the brand, you can get it even cheaper in the frozen section for about 38 cents a serving. These are all much cheaper options than getting it from a fast-food place, which is about $1.23 a serving."

The bottom line, you'll have to run the numbers and gauge the value accordingly. For instance, some frozen pizza products only have a token amount of meat and cheese on them. The whole pizza probably doesn't contain a serving of meat (3-oz.). You'd probably use more meat when you make them at home - a pound of ground beef would provide a serving of meat in 2 slices of a 10-slice pizza.

Pizza is a good place to use leftovers and clean out the crisper drawer for those veggie toppings. I freeze chopped sweet bell peppers and onions from the garden and use them on pizza.

Another point... I only eat one piece of homemade pizza because we really load ours with veggies, some meat, and only a small amount of cheese. Compare that to consuming 2 or 3 pieces of a frozen pizza to get the same amount of food value.

When I make a homemade pizza I'm sure I can get well under the 75 cents a serving given in the example above.

- sourdough pizza dough from freshly-milled flour - less than 10 cents for a 12-inch crust. A pizza crust mix from the store is about 59 cents. Using your own ingredients is probably cheaper.

- sauce - made from homegrown tomatoes - nearly free

- spices - made from homegrown herbs - nearly free

- toppings - This is where the price can go up a lot, but it doesn't need to. Using ground bison is our most expensive pizza topping - which is 50-60 cents a slice in a 10-slice pizza. So even using expensive bison meat, I can still build a cheaper pizza than the example (75 cents/slice).

- cheese - it's cheaper to buy a bulk amount of cheese and shred your own, rather than buying pre-shredded cheese. Shred your own and keep it in a vacuum sealed FoodSaver canister.


tishtoshnm -

I order agave nectar from Amazon.com. It seems to always be the least expensive. I order a years worth at a time. There are cookbooks available for using agave nectar. I don't have any and can't suggest any because I've developed my own recipes over the years.

Just what kind of information are you wanting about grains? Milling? Recipes? You could start another thread with your questions. Dom's In-site has the best information about kefir. It's just one of the many fermented foods with a lot of health benefits. If you think kefir is "interesting", you should see what I do with chia seeds (LOL)!

A great book is "The Splendid Grain" by Rebecca Wood. Another good source is Sue Gregg's web site - www.suegregg.com/ She has a good selection of recipes where she uses whole grains and makes blender recipes - whole corn mixed in the blender for cornbread - whole grains mixed in the blender for pancakes/waffles.

I have piles-of-files on these subjects because I'm an information freak.

Here's a fun recipe from The Splendid Grain. A great introduction to using whole grains.

Oat Groat Pancakes
(makes about 15)

2/3 c. oat groats
1/3 c. buckwheat groats, toasted (I use kasha)
1-1/4 c. milk or soy milk
3 large eggs
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 t. sea salt
2 T. Sucanat or light brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. grated nutmeg

Combine the oats, buckwheat, and milk in a blender container (DO NOT blend). Cover and let soak refrigerated overnight. (I add 2 T. of whey from my kefir to provide the lactic acid and lactobacilli to help break down the hard-to-digest proteins in grains. You can use yogurt or buttermilk to accomplish the same task. This makes the grains easier to digest and soaking increases vitamin content.)

(The next morning.) Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process to combine. Preheat a griddle. Drop the batter by ladleful onto the griddle and bake for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Serve hot with the usual pancake accompaniments.

(Note: You can use other grains in this recipe...spelt, rye, kamut, wheat, etc.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't take trianglejohn's post as uncalled for. I think he's right.

I love to cook, do a lot of it. But unless you get down to milling your own flour like grainlady does, it's not really scratch cooking and it takes a lot of time to do. Plus clean up. And you have to have a sizeable investment in tools and machines to do it the way she does. Most of us cannot go "all in" as she does, though I admire it. Many of her tips and recipes can be adapted by those of us who like to cook but can't go "all in."

As for wings, I laughed at "grease on bone." That's how I think of them, too, but I love the sauce and method. I buy whole chickens, collect the wings in the freezer for soup, use the breast cutlets for "wings" or stir-fry, use the rest of the chicken in all sorts of ways. I always try to buy on sale and stock up. I don't make stock, but I do use the bones for soups.

This will sound awful to you, but I buy frozen cheese pizza 4 for $10.00 and doctor them up. Cheap and good.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks to all who provided recipes!

Extra thanks to grainlady for all the cooking and nutritional info!

Trianglejohn, I do not understand you comment about setting sights higher than pizza and chicken. You extol the virtue of baking ones own bread. Pizza is just 'bread' with veggies, fruit and meat. Its one of the best foods to serve to one's family. Why would it be any different than serving pannini or anything else with a bread base? What is wrong with eating chicken? I respect the vegetarian philosophy, but many people believe that meat provides nutrients that a diet of just plants do not provide.

Let me add one of my money saving tips that also provide a better product........Grind your own hamburger. Buy the cheapest cuts of meat. They are the ones that do not have much fat anyway and this lack of fat is what makes them tough, chewy and stringy. Buy them on sale and stock up for greater savings. I happen to have a food processor that will grind meat, but you can get one of those hand crank models that clamp to you counter. The meat will always taste better and fresher. You can control the amount of fat that goes into it. I know for a fact, because I've known people that work in the meat departments at stores, that they don't just put lean meat in the hamburger they sell. They often use old meat that they cannot sell whole, after it has sat a while in plastic in the display cases. They toss in entrails and all the fat trimming from the day - not that that would hurt you.

You will immediately notice the taste difference when you grind your own hamburger and save money too. You can also make your own breakfast sausage patties by seasoning the ground pork right away and freezing them. (Use them for pizza!) Grind meat and make meatloaf or meatballs and freeze. You can even grind chicken to make patties for tasty grilled chicken sandwiches. Use ground chicken right away as it tends to go slimy real quick.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Grainlady for pizza price breakdown. That was on the back of my mind and that was one reason I was asking. Still, it will be cheaper for us because the closest pizza place is more than 15 miles away, so, with current gas prices and time it takes to drive there (no one home delivers to us, too far) we are better off making our own. Not to mention that, like noted, it is a good place to use leftover odds and ends :)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"What is wrong with eating chicken?"

He never said anything about chicken in general... he said wings.

BIG difference...

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sunday Night Pizza (homemade) is a regular on my menu planning....

Here are a couple web sites that give the breakdown in foods - Convenience VS Scratch.

The Cost of Convenience - Utah State University Extension

Cost & Nutrition Analysis
Convenience vs. Homemade Foods
Sites with substitute recipes...

Homemade Instant and Convenience Foods
(lots of fun recipes, including Homemade Rootbeer)

Homemade Vs. Boxed:

Homemade Vs. Boxed page 2:


    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 10:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi clink,

In your recipe of last Wed. ... how much canola oil - that part of a cup?

For most of the types of food under discussion ... you want the convenience ... you pay the price.

The grain moths that fly around here at times like whole wheat flour, but not all-purpose.

I have to hide nuts, cookies, etc. in heavy containers (they chew holes in plastic bags ... and in the paper bags in which oatmeal comes) ... but I can leave pretty well any prepared cereal that I know of out in a bowl for a week and they won't touch it!

Bugs's smarter'n people!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Grainlady's quote about running the numbers is "spot on" as they say. It drives me up a wall, and proves ignorance when people throw out the "always" term. "Usually", "normally", etc, OK, but there's so many examples, including the one she gave on pizza that I just wish people would think before they post certain allegations. I remember a thread a while back on how it's so much cheaper to make your own laundry detergent and the cost was about 10¢ per load. I buy commercial laundry detergent for 1¢ to 6¢ per load and don't have to use any utilities or the like. Savvy shoppers can get some true bargains on things. Not always, but depending on how dedicated you are, and sometimes how lucky you are, it can be surprisingly often. 'Nuff on that.

There's no set answer to the original question. My guess is that chicken wings, probably, pizza, possibly and bread, maybe it'll be cheaper, but it's impossible to say with certainty without more info. On the bread, it can vary a lot by the ingredients. Do you buy individual packets of yeast at a convenience store or buy yeast in bulk? Do you buy bread making "kits"? Do you buy 50# of flour and not waste even a bit? Do you add eggs to your bread? (each can add up to 25¢ or more to a loaf!) how about milk, etc? When you can buy a 1.5# loaf for 49¢ is it cheaper, especially when you factor in the cost of fuel for baking? You really have to do a cost analysis to determine which is cheaper and realize that the numbers will vary often as prices change.

Reminds me of the question, is it better to take a standard deduction or itemize? People will give absolute answers on that one too when one of the only accurate answer is "depends".

The series "Tightwad Gazette" is a good book to read about making your own, cost of scratch and the like. She talks about how some things are cheaper but most are cheaper in the do-it-yourself mode. I really like those books. They get a bit wacky in some ways, but when you read it to learn, it helps you develop a mindset of a more frugal life and thinking in different ways than many of us were brought up. She has some recipes in there that are good examples. You certainly can modify them.

When people are trying to get more frugal, or start cooking, or the like, I encourage them to take it a step at a time. For instance, instead of growing your salad fixings, harvest, prep, etc, try using a bagged salad and bottle dressing. Then try making your own dressing. Then add some onion and other things you like to it, then do a head of lettuce, some carrots, etc and work your way up. Wade into the pool instead of diving in head first. Often it's better.

I do keep frozen/prepared/convenience items around. Certain nights I'm just in too much pain, too tired or otherwise unable to do a "scratch" cooked meal. But nuke a couple decent hot dogs, a bag salad and a Lil' Debbie snack is far tastier and I think better for you than most drive through "food". And probably cheaper. Most likely less time involved. Etc.

Carl Sagan is said to have quipped, "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." Whether he said it or not is irrelevant, I like the quote! :)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 7:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I love the tightwad gazette books too. I got the newsletters before the books came out. I wish Amy would come out of retirement!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 10:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My comments were not meant to offend anyone. I thought the original statement "I am thinking of making my own whole wheat bread, pizza and chicken wings for starters" implied that they were starting out with cooking food. These are not difficult foods to prepare, nothing tricky here just basic cooking 101. You will have to do a lot of math to determine if you're saving any money when you cook them. But if you look into more complicated recipes, food that requires a bit of skill - then you'll notice real money savings. Fancy ingredients, difficult techniques cost more when the food is store or restaurant bought.

Its a lot like growing a food garden. Growing potatoes and onions doesn't make the most sense because they are so cheap in the store. Home grown tomatoes generally taste better than store bought so its easy to see a savings as long as you factor in flavor. Its all about how to look at things.

If you eat a lot of pizza and wings it will probably be cheaper to buy them in bulk and save your kitchen time for other foods where the savings are easier to see.

Time is money and you do have to figure in the costs of every little detail involved in cleaning, chopping, cooking and then cleaning up again in order to get the whole picture.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tomatoes are about the easiest - for large ones, all that one needs for processing is a knife ...

... and for small ones - nuthin (if one has teeth).

Heck - even without teeth, one can manage them (unless they're *really* thick-skinned - thicker than I've run into yet).

There may be hope for my son, yet.

He asked for a largish basket of tomatoes, enough to fill a fairly large stew-pot ... and when I arrived, he nipped a couple from another box, as well.

To take to his friend's house ... I think it's for salsa, chili sauce, or something similar.

I haven't found out how much of the processing that he may be party to.

That message'll probably come out in dribs and drabs.

I hope that you're all enjoying this beautiful fall weather - well, it's warm and pleasant here, anyway.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Making your own foods at home with whole foods doesn't always work out the cheapest on paper. But when you consider the health benefits, carbon footprints and time spent together with your family there is a real advantage. Read the label on that frozen pizza - do you know what those ingredients really are? What do they do to your body? Do you know how much crude oil contributed to the processing and transport of those ingredients? When is the last time you spent real time together making a meal with your family? Think about it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

just made home made german chocolate cake..... definately not cheaper than preparing from a box.................but wow... the taste was no comparison. Love the post, very interested in the grainlady's ideas and dedication. i do have a question that is not meant offensively, do you work out side of the home, cuz i don't know how you do it.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

vanmicnatlog -

I am currantly on the 21st Century endangered species list - I'm a homemaker; and to borrow a phrase from another gal from Kansas - "There's no place like home". Although I've done most of the same things when I was working, had a couple kids (and all their friends) at home, taking care of 3 elderly parents, and doing yeomans work as a volunteer in the community. I have 24-hours in a day like most people. HOW I use those 24-hours is what's probably different.

As a dedicated frugalite, the kitchen is my lab. I was up at 4:15 this morning making 100% whole wheat bread. By milling my own flour (which takes only a few minutes), I can make two loaves of bread for around 50-cents each.

Hubby makes a German Chocolate Cake (from scratch, milling the flour used in the recipe) for me for my birthday every year - one of his few forays into the kitchen. Boy are you ever right, it's not cheaper than buying a cake mix and a box of frosting, but we can control the ingredients this way. What we get for the extra effort and expense is a 100% wholegrain cake, and he makes a low-glycemic version of the Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 7:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The trouble with making homemade bread is that I can then eat the whole loaf plus butter & not only haven't saved, I've gained! LOL

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 9:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

pattyokie - (LOL)

When you make bread (and all it's forms) once or twice a week, you get over that temptation. I can flip out a pan of Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Rolls and not bat an eye. I never cut the heel off a freshly-baked loaf of bread. When I make 12 hamburger buns, 12 get wrapped up and tucked away in the freezer. It's just bread. There will be more made next week. No big deal.

When homemade bread is the "norm" and you make it all the time, you don't get into it anymore than you'd eat half a loaf of store-bought bread. So, there IS hope! ;-)


    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately in our house, the homemade bread does not last as long as the store brought, not yet anyway. I have gone through 10 lb + bread flour, 5 lb + rye flour and more in about a month. I have to make something in my bread machine every other day to keep up with the eating. But it sure is good, I know what went into it and it does not have time to get old :)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 8:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW - punamytsike, how many are you feeding?

I'm a stickler about controling the number of servings and serving sizes. I can cut a 1-ounce slice bread with my eyes shut... When I make small loaves, I cut 1/2-oz. slices.

We (2-adults) use a 1-pound loaf of 100% whole wheat/multi-grain bread per week (and hubby takes his lunch, which is often a sandwich). I limit our servings of breads/cereals to 4 per day (each) - which is based on the old Basic - Four. We use a variety of other whole grains, not just sliced bread, in our diet. There are too many carbs. for us if we follow the Food Pyramid.

4-servings bread/cereals
4-servings fruits & vegetables
2-servings meat/alternatives
2-servings milk/dairy

It's easy to understand how over-eating and large portions has become the National passtime. Many people don't know how many servings they should, or DO, consume and what a serving size is.

What equals a serving?

- one 1-oz. slice of bread
- 1/2 an English Muffin
- 1/2 c. cooked rice or pasta
- 1/2 a hamburger bun
- 1 pancake the size of a CD
- 1/4 bagel (approx. 1-oz.)
- 1/2 a hot dog bun
- 1/2 c. cooked cereal
- 3/4 c. dry cereal
- 3 graham crackers
- 1 small dinner roll (2-inch sq.)
- 6 saltine crackers
- 1 (6-inch) tortilla
- 1/2 (6-inch) pita bread


    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Would you mind sharing your 100% whole grain bread recipe? I've been trying to make my own for over 2 years now and I can make wonderful and delicious white bread but no such luck with whole grain. I either get a brick or what tastes like paper or both.

Also, what brand of grain mill do you own? I was looking into getting one since getting fresh whole wheat flour is nearly impossible around here.

One thing I've noticed about making things from scratch is the more you do the more you want to do. I started with just basic meals from now I'm moving to the point where soon I'll not only be cooking everything from scratch but growing/raising all my food!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jenica -

I'd love sharing the recipe. It's my friend, Mildred's, recipe (which I've tweaked). It's the best 100% whole wheat bread recipe I've ever made, and I've tried LOTS of recipes over the years. I make the dough in a Zojirushi bread machine, but it can be made by hand, as well. I believe the difference is using the sponge method rather than the quicker direct dough method.

I add the ingredients to the bread pan in the bread machine and let it work for 5-10 minutes on the dough cycle (until it's well blended). Unplug the bread machine and with the lid shut, let the sponge set AT LEAST 2-1/2-hours. Now that's it cooler in the kitchen, I let it sit overnight, or 8-12-hours. OR, you can mix the ingredients in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.)
3/4 c. warm buttermilk (I always use homemade kefir)
3/4 c. barely warm water
2-1/2 c. freshly-milled whole wheat flour
1/4 t. ascorbic acid (a must-use ingredient *see below)
2 t. instant yeast (I use SAF-Instant.)

Next morning, stir into sponge (with a spatula):
2 T. vegetable oil or butter (I use coconut oil.)
2 T. honey (I use agave nectar)
1 egg
(I also add 1/3-1/2 c. chia jel - warm the chia jel, coconut oil, agave nectar to luke warm and add the egg to the mixture and then add it to the sponge. Chia gel is a mixture of chia seeds and water 1/3 c. chia seeds to 2 cups water - stir - soak the seeds 8-10 hours before use - mix will last 3-5 days, refrigerated. Chia gel is a "secret" ingredient in my homemade breads that helps keep the crumb soft and fresh - even a week after baking. The seeds look like poppy seeds in the bread.)
Add to the top of the sponge (in the bread machine - or mix into the sponge in the bowl if making by hand):
2-1/4 c. flour
2 t. salt (on the top)
(I also add 2-3 T. flaxmeal.)
Set machine on dough cycle.
Here's where Mildred and I differ, and we both end up with big beautiful loaves. She lets the bread rise in the bread machine on the dough cycle (we both have a Zojirushi). I don't trust the bread machine when it comes to the rise of bread because it's timed (and what does a machine know about "double"), so as soon as the machine is done kneading, I slap the dough into a 2-quart dough rising bucket with the lid on. This recipe yields about 1-quart of dough and I let it rise to just UNDER 2-quarts - whole wheat dough doesn't have the extensibility that white flour dough has, so don't let it go to "double".
Punch down, divide, round the dough into balls and let it sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes to allow the gluten strands to relax.
Form (I form my dough on a Silpat - no bench flour necessary - and handle the dough with oiled hands; pan the dough in greased pans, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise. Bake in a preheated oven - anywhere between 350° and 375°.
I usually make 2 loaves from the dough (8-1/2x4-1/2-inch loaf pans) - bake 375°F for 25-30 minutes (or until around 195° - 200°F when checked with an instant read thermometer).
For 3 small loaves - bake 350°F for 20-25 minutes (same temperature for doneness).

*I add ascorbic acid (aka Vitamin C powder) to all yeast breads that include whole wheat flour or wheat germ. There is a substance in the wheat germ called Glutathione, which breaks down the gluten (hence - short loaves of whole wheat bread). By adding ascorbic acid powder (1/8 t. per loaf) in your dough, you will help to counteract the negative effects of Glutathione. Ascorbic acid will not only help prevent the gluten bonds from breaking down; but will help repair gluten bonds that have already been broken. Ascorbic acid helps sustain the leavening of the bread loaves during baking. It promotes yeast growth causing the yeast to work longer and faster in the acidic atmosphere. Do not add ascorbic acid to sourdough bread dough because it is naturally an acidic atmosphere and additional acid is not necessary.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been looking for soooo long for a good whole wheat recipe. It seems they all have at least half white flour or if they are whole wheat someone says, "I just love the density of a whole wheat loaf." What!? To me that is just code for, "My bread came out like a brick but I'm into the whole mind over matter thing and have convinced myself that bread should be gnawed on." I'm so excited to try your recipe. I had just about given up on baking bread because I really like to eat all whole grains, it seemed better for me to just buy decent whole grain bread then to eat my half and half. Now I just have to get some fresh flour. Unfortunately, no grain mill for me yet. I just spent a ton of money on my All American Pressure Canner this summer so no more big "toys" for me for a while :(

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Grainlady -- I am giggling at your post where you say that you got over wanting to eat up your freshly made bread fairly quickly. :)

I recently had my yearly trip to Paris, where lining up at the bakery twice daily for fresh bread is a ritual. It never takes me long to get in line!

Something that strikes me with each trip is the love affair that the French (and other Europeans) have with food. It is wonderful to see all of the market streets and the locals shopping from store to store each day -- the cheese shop, the butcher, the fruit and vegetable market, the bakery, the dairy, etc. Though there are "supermarkets" they are not as prevalent as here, as at least in France, cooking meals with fresh ingredients is mostly how it's done. I stay in an apartment when I go and it's really fun and enjoyable to shop these markets -- the finds are incredible... and the act of shopping is all a part of the process of preparing a meal.

Anyway, back to the original topic -- I always make a huge pot of my own tomato sauce and freeze most of it in small containers for future use. I love it all winter long. In summer I make large batches of pesto and freeze. I also make my own ice cream and do much of my own baking except for bread which I'd like to master.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 8:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

1) Wide variety of ethnic recipes, esp soups, stews, cassaroles & stir fries... to use up bits & pieces of raw & cooked leftovers...
2) Menus for a week or two -- eg, fry up ground beef, celery, onions, etc & set aside in portions, then try different spices for variety...
3) Buy groceries SEASONALLY & at sale bargains -- turkeys at Thanksgiving, Xmas, corned beef @ St Pat's day, roasts in summer, tomatoes in Aug, citrus fruits in winter, apples in fall...
Give thanks that you have food to eat at all!
Nearly 1/3 of the world NEVER has enough & loses years of life!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone, for your tips & recipes.

I do cook/bake from scratch almost entirely. It is helpful to have a frozen pizza (bought on sale) handy on those days when you've been out & are too tired to make a meal. It is cheaper than eating out which is too tempting.

Grainlady, I can't wait to try all your recipes, especially the WW bread. I make a Flax Seed Bread that has 4 different seeds & lots of other healty ingredients. I'll have to adapt that to yours. The only problem is I've tried it with WW flour to different degrees & find it's better with 1/2 AP flour. I tell myself it's still healthier than store bought. I bought a Champion juicer & grain mill attachment very reasonable on ebay. Do you buy your grains in bulk, and if so, where?

Please everyone, keep in mind the dangers of MSG & the many other names they are calling it. It's hidden in almost everything, which is a very good reason to make everything yourself if you can.

Besides the books mentioned, which I have several of, a search on the Net will get you just about any recipe you could dream up.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So if you don't have a reaction to MSG -- is it still dangerous?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

In the opinion of those who have researched MSG unfortunately the answer is yes.

From the last section of the article linked above:

"The excitotoxins kill certain neurons, those with glutamate receptors, by overstimulating them. Sometimes the cells are damaged without being killed. Because of the particular functions of the brain areas where these cells are located, exposure in infancy or prenatally is suspected to be implicated in learning disabilities, emotional problems, and endocrinological abnormalities.

"Blaylock convincingly links cumulative exposure in adulthood to an accelerated onset and degeneration in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, and ALS as well as headaches, seizures, strokes and AIDS dementia."

The whole article is worth reading and heeding.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, MSG is very dangerous.

Have you also noticed how many products have propylene glycol (anti-freeze) in them? Do you have Watkins extracts? Besides food products, check your cosmetics, vitamins, basically every product in your house. The reason it's added to so many products is because it's cheap, and...it supposedly tastes good.

Why do we, as a nation, have more diseases than any other country? Another reason to cook from scratch.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 10:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I eat a lot of bread (about half to one whole loaf of Ezekiel bread per day), so the possibility of making my own and saving a bit of dough (sorry for the pun) is very appealing to me. Great stuff here!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

gram999, Thank you so much for that link. I had read alot about it in the past, but never had it's effects stated so plainly.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 8:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

paulope - Ezekiel bread isn't just one type of bread. Some loaves are made from sprouted mixtures, some are baked at a very low temperature to maintain the enzymes and resemble large hocky pucks. Some are mixtures of grains/seeds/beans milled into a flour and raised with bakers' yeast and look like a traditional loaf.

If you use Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 bread, I'd suggest you continue to purchase it. Those folks have a method that is nearly impossible to duplicate at home.

A quick Google will find you a plethora of recipes as well as places that have the mixed grains/seeds/beans, or the flour mixture if you don't have a mill with which to mill your own mixture.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 6:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I have lots of wheat left from Y2K (Don't ask!). I'm still using this for pancakes and breads made with some white wheat. I haven't attempted to use this in whole wheat bread because I've been told that it will not rise when the wheat is so old. I've been wondering about additives such as ascorbic acid or vital wheat gluten. What do you think?

Another question. What kind of corn do you grind for cornmeal? I would love to do this.

I was jokingly going to ask if you do classes, but I see that you HAVE done them in the past. Wish I wasn't so far away from Kansas :)!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ilovetn -

I'd never hesitate using wheat from Y2K. Wheat easily has a shelf life of 25-years. It's new crop wheat you want to avoid. Bread can be a little "gummy" if you use new crop wheat. It's best aged a couple years before using.

You can test your whole wheat flour for gluten content to see just what you are contending with.

How to test gluten:

Measure 2 cups and 1 T. of flour and place it in the workbowl of a food processor with the steel knife. If you measure by scooping a dry measuring cup into the flour, fill it, and slightly pack the flour as you level it off against the container, a little over 2 c. of high protein flour will absorb 1 c. of water, producing a sticky dough ball when processed for about 30 seconds. (Source: CookWise by Shirley O. Corriher) If you don't get a sticky dough ball, we know it's a lower gluten flour.

I ALWAYS add ascorbic acid to yeast breads containing ANY whole wheat flour or wheat germ. There is a substance in wheat germ called Glutathione that breaks down the gluten (hence those short loaves and "bricks" of whole wheat bread). I add 1/8 t. per 3 c. flour. By adding ascorbic acid, it will help to counteract the negative effects of Gluthione.

I also use a sponge method for making 100% whole wheat bread, rather than a direct dough method, and get light and fluffy, high-rising loaves.

Check the link below for a recipe similar to what I use - Old-fashioned 100 percent Whole Wheat Bread from Beth Hensperger, The Bread Bible. I'd add 1/4 t. ascorbic acid to the sponge. It may need an additional 1/8 t., but I'd start with that. I make my recipe in a bread machine using the sponge method.

I use dent corn for cornmeal. Dent corn is the big, squarish, nibs of field corn or sweet corn. When dry, it has a "dent" on the side - hence, dent corn. There's more starch in dent corn than flint or popcorn. Flint corn looks like popcorn in shape, but because of the smaller amount of starch, it's high in bran and is what should be used for polenta.

If you ever make corn bread with freshly-milled cornmeal, you'll NEVER go back to the store-bought stuff - no other smell like it. If you have a Nutrimill for milling grains/beans/seeds, it does a very fine grind of cornmeal when set on the coarse setting. I use a Corona Corn Mill for coarser grinds.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 7:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for the prompt reply! I printed out the recipes from the link and will give them a try.

I have a Grain Master Whisper Mill but I think it should do the job. I actually knew what dent corn was, though I didn't know why it was called "dent". I'll do some investigating and see if I can locate some in my area, central Florida.

You don't happen to have a hint for keeping whole wheat biscuits from being so crumbly, do you? :)

Thanks a lot, Carol

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 8:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ilovetn (Carol) - Are you using hard wheat for whole wheat flour for your biscuits? If so, that's too much gluten for really good, tender, biscuits. Soft wheat is best for biscuits - or temper your hard wheat flour with a low-gluten flour (spelt or even rye, for instance) to lower the gluten level.

You may find adding a little more fat to the recipe will help. The same thing is true when you use high-gluten flour for pastry. A little more fat will help to coat the flour. Where the flour is coated with fat, moisture can't penetrate and less gluten will develop. The proverbial "shortening" of the gluten strands - hence, "short" crust pastry.

Keep mixing to a bare minimum. That keeps gluten development to a minimun. Cut the biscuits into squares (I use a pizza cutter), rather than rounds. It's the second cuts (when you re-work the leftover dough from the first cuts that you get when you cut round biscuits) that get tough and crumbley because you've manipulated the dough again and REALLY have too much gluten developed.

See if any of those hints help.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 11:54AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Quite a few made big savings on Amazon
Due to a quirk in their pricing software ... quite...
How to Retire 35 Years Early
Wall Street Journal's Market Watch did a feature on...
Money saving idea
Start deep cleaning your home. It is amazing the things...
Off topic: A sad tale but also true...
A widow friend of mine was telling me today about the...
Barcode on the envelope?
I used a envelope which has barcode on it to send a...
Sponsored Products
Safavieh Handmade Ancestry Ivory/ Red Wool Rug (4' Round)
Deer Footed Iced Tea Goblets Gift Boxed
Classic Hostess
Origami Planter
Grandin Road
Christopher Knight Home Guernsey Brown Bonded Leather Storage Ottoman Bench
Trump New York White One-Light Sconce
$116.00 | Bellacor
ELK Lighting Dione 1022 Pendant - Aged Bronze - 10226/3
$290.00 | Hayneedle
Ingelside Floor Lamp by Dimond
$350.00 | Lumens
3 Lights Tiffany Style Geometric Color Stripes Island Light
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™