Megan: I've been making all of our bread since last October (thanks No Impact Week for helping me get to the next level), so I've got a routine worked out, and it's actually pretty easy and fun.
Tony: Great, but what about the cost aspects? Is this really cheaper than store bread?
Well, you asked for it. Here's the math.
A store loaf of 100% whole wheat bread costs between $2 and $2.50, depending which brand is on sale. Sometimes they are 2/$4 or $2.49 per loaf. (It's been so long since I bought bread, I can't remember!)
For me to make a 1-pound loaf of bread using 100% whole wheat, water, yeast, dried milk (SACO brand dried buttermilk is what I like), butter, some wheat bran and flax seeds added, and salt, costs approximately $1.25 to make. (You get a little bit more than 6 loaves of bread per 5 pound bag of organic King Arthur flour.) A bag costs about $4, which is about $0.75 per loaf. The cost of yeast and dried milk add another $0.50 to the loaf, making a loaf of bread cost about $1.25. The butter, salt, are of nominal cost. The wheat bran and flax seeds are optional and of only nominal cost (buy in bulk at co-op market, store in leftover yogurt containers or glass jars).
It's not as easy as buying it at the store, but I feel the end result is worth it. The homemade bread takes approximately 3 hours if the dough is made in the bread machine and risen and formed by hand and baked in the oven. It takes less total time if I make it entirely by hand but has the downside of taking more of my attention. I have not tried the no-knead 18-hour bread yet.
I have messed around with various recipes (e.g. not using dried milk) but this particular one works well and tastes good. We don't mind the taste of whole wheat bread. It's definitely not as cloyingly sweet as store bread.
The texture of the homemade is so much better, that alone is enough to make homemade bread worth it, but when you add the cost factor and the fact that I can vouch for the provenance of all the ingredients, this is a clear win-win for pocket and planet.
Pocket: 2, Planet: 1, Win-Win: 4