Is a bread maker worth the cost?
I finally took the plunge… I purchased a bread maker!
I have always loved the taste of bread from a bread maker. My mom had one that she used during the holidays when I was a kid, and it was always a special treat. There is just something about bread from a bread maker—maybe it is the air pockets that trap butter so perfectly, or the amazing crust, or the fluffy texture… but bread from the bread maker is just magical!
When I decided to finally get one for myself, I chose this one from Amazon. It has a lot of functions for the price (including pasta, pizza dough, cake, and jam), and you can make loaves in a variety of sizes. It does a lot of the things the fancy, expensive bread makers can do, but comes in at $100—a fraction of the price.
But is that price worth it? Did I just buy the bread maker to have a new toy in the kitchen, or will it really save money in the long run? I crunched the numbers and was pleasantly surprised by how cheap it is to make your own bread.
Let’s run the numbers.
The bread maker itself is $100 – I bought it for $75 on Amazon last month (August 2016), so you might be able to find it for cheaper if you watch the price.
A 5 lb (80oz) bag of bread flour at Martin’s is $2.99
Red Star Active Dry Yeast at Costco (2lbs, 32oz) is $4.49
A giant container of iodized table salt is $.39 at Aldi (which works out to a fraction of a penny per loaf)
The simple French bread recipe that my family loves and we use for sandwiches calls for:
- 1 ¼ tsp salt = $.005
- 3 ¼ cups bread flour = $.52
- 1 ¾ tsp yeast = $.03
Total cost per loaf: $.555, but let’s round to $.56
On my kitchen scale, I measured 1 cup of flour at 4.25oz, 1 tsp yeast weighed .125 oz, and 1 tsp salt weighed ¼ oz. I used these measurements to calculate the price.
That’s right—$.56 for a loaf of bread! What do the pre-sliced loaves cost at the grocery store? Sometimes I can find them on sale at Aldi for $.99, but at Food Lion or Martin’s, a loaf of bread can run you well over $2.
Let’s ask the big question again. Is buying a bread maker worth it?
If you make a lot of sandwiches and your family goes through a lot of bread already, then a bread maker will be well worth the cost. Switching from buying that $2 pre-sliced loaf from the grocery store to making your own $.56 loaf once a week, you will make up the upfront cost of the bread maker in 70 weeks. And the bread maker will certainly last you longer than that!
It really is only worth it if you plan to make and eat bread consistently… so parents who pack kid’s lunches will break even pretty quickly.
Plus, fresh bread is delicious!
If you have kids that are bored of PB + J, switching from Wonderbread to fresh bread that you made at home in your bread maker will certainly kick your sandwiches up a few notches.
My husband (a teacher) packs a lunch every day, and since we got the bread maker, I haven’t found any half eaten sandwiches in his lunch box. He absolutely loves the bread, and has even started requesting more sandwiches in his lunch!
It makes more than just bread!
Want to try your hand at fresh pasta dough? The bread maker can do it! How about pizza night without ordering delivery? The bread maker even has settings for cake, whole wheat bread, gluten free, sweet breads, and packaged mixes. You can do all this with just one appliance! There is a whole list of bread maker recipes on Pinterest that I just can’t wait to try!
And it is easy!
I am a busy stay-at-home mom. I don’t have time for finicky recipes or precisely timed rise cycles.
If you have a bread maker, it is really set and forget. Just dump the ingredients in order, turn it on, and walk away until the amazing smell of fresh baking bread calls you back.
With the bread maker I have, you can even set a timer. I add the ingredients before bed, and a fresh loaf is done first thing in the morning, ready to be packed into lunches!
It is a good deal of money up front, but I have found that having a bread maker is worth the cost if you use it frequently enough. At only $.56 to make a fresh loaf a bread, a bread maker saves you a bundle over the course of a year. It is also far cheaper to make your own pizza (with dough from your breadmaker) and pasta than it is to order out or even to buy these items in the grocery store. I am ecstatic with my bread maker purchase, and my family is looking forward to fresh bread for years to come.