Friday, April 24, 2009

Frugal Fridays: Artisan Bread

Every week my supermarket's sale flyer features one flavor of artisan bread. They sound delicious, but I just can't bring myself to pay $4 for a 16-ounce loaf of grocery store bread.

Contrary to the online descriptions of artisan bread--some of which suggest that it can only be made by someone with an advanced college degree in yeast technology and dough management--I think that there are few foods better than homemade bread.

My family enjoys sourdough bread, but the supermarket variety is just not very good. So, sometime last December, I took out my favorite all-around cookbook, How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, and mixed up a sourdough starter. In spite of my lack of expertise in the area of yeast technology, it was easy!

Since then I've been making sourdough bread about once a week. It's fun to see the starter bubble up after it's been rejuvenated with flour and water, and to see how much the sponge expands during its 24-hour fermentation.

It starts like this:

and turns into this:

I've adapted the recipe a bit, and I've found that the timing is more flexible than the dough-management experts would lead you to believe. The cookbook I mentioned has some tips to help fit bread baking into your schedule.

Because of copyright issues, I don't think I can post the entire recipe here. But sourdough recipes are widely available, and my frugal suggestion is to give one of them a try. I know I'm happy to save money on bread--and to know exactly what ingredients are in the bread my family is eating.

By the way, if you're a member of Costco, check out the yeast they sell. We paid a few dollars for two POUNDS of yeast. I transferred the entire package to a big jar, and I refill a smaller jar from that. By keeping most of the yeast in a jar that I open infrequently, the yeast has remained active long past the expiration date.

For more Frugal Fridays, surf over to Life as Mom.


  1. I have never tried making sourdough bread before - I can certainly see how it would save money, though!

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog! I love sourdough but have not tried it in years. This makes me want to give it a try!

  3. Sounds great. Just a note: yeast will last basically forever in an airtight jar in the freezer!

  4. I buy my yeast from Costco, too. They definitely have a good price on the quantity that you get.


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