Bread prices are on the rise, so some are turning to bread makers
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, life seems forever-altered by rising food costs and shortages. Household staples like eggs and lettuce have taken a hit, with prices skyrocketing as these once-common products become more scarce. Now, bread may be the next kitchen must-have to fly off grocery store shelves and increase in price.
The Consumer Price Index reports that, in the last year alone, bread prices have already risen by nearly 15%. Now, people are turning to an old friend — the tried-and-true bread maker — to bake fresh loaves at home and avoid rising costs and the lack of bread on store shelves.
Alex C., who lives in western Idaho and prefers to keep her last name anonymous for privacy reasons, says she hasn’t bought bread from a store in months. She took to TikTok, where she posts as @its.me.alexc, to share her bread-making journey, and was surprised to find a whole community of people doing the same as her.
“I think the pandemic made a lot of people realize how simple it is to make their food from home and it’s not as hard as it may seem, especially with a bread maker,” she tells Yahoo Life. “I’m sure cost is also a part of it, as the cost of living is so high right now and a lot of people are struggling. Making bread is a simple way to save some money.”
In addition to the simplicity and savings a bread maker offers, it provides peace of mind. “You don’t have to worry about the store running out of your favorite bread when you can just make it at home,” says Alex C., who recently shared her go-to homemade bread recipe on TikTok. “I also think a lot of people are starting to open up to the realization of what is in products we buy from the store, such as bread, and it’s not good things. We’ve forgotten about a loaf of bread from the store in our cupboard for several weeks and it doesn’t even have any mold on it — that’s scary. I love knowing every single ingredient I’m feeding my family.”
While some are just getting started with their bread makers, others have a lifelong connection to making bread at home.
“My mom had [a bread maker] when I was growing up,” says Chelsea McGuire, a long-time bread maker fan from Orlando, Fla. “It was one of the first things I registered for for my wedding. I make bread in my bread maker weekly, whenever we need a fresh loaf for the house.”
Tom Hambly is the U.K.-based blogger behind Crust Kingdom. Hambly says he made his first loaf over ten years ago, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that he fully committed to the hobby.
“I was very much into making pizza and knew the dough recipe was very similar to bread,” he tells Yahoo Life. “It was fun, and although you start with some pretty bad results, you can quickly improve. Each time you bake you get better, so that’s a rewarding part of the hobby.”
Hambly has tried a bit of it all in his bread machine, from simple white loaves to their more complicated sourdough cousins. While bread is often thought of as a complicated and time-consuming process, Hambly says a bread maker completes the job with little effort, while resulting in a fresh, delicious loaf of homemade bread.
“Bread-making has lots of steps which isn’t great if you don’t have the free time to watch over it and start the next step,” he says. “The bread maker kneads everything for you with a dough hook, then lets it rise in a perfectly-heated environment for the correct time. It then bakes it just right, so it’s perfect for anyone who isn’t right next to the kitchen all day.”
McGuire’s bread maker is so simple to use that it’s become a fixture on her kitchen countertops. “I use my bread maker weekly,” she says. “It saves me from having to pick up expensive bread at the store each week.”
Hambly believes people are turning back to their bread makers for a simple way to bring something hearty, homemade and delicious into their kitchens, regardless of their busy lifestyles. “I think people are turning to bread makers as they are super easy and hassle-free,” he explains. “You are either a bread-maker who wants to have fun kneading the dough, or you want it to be easy so you can have fresh bread on a Saturday morning without too much fuss.”
As bread makers have been popping up in kitchens and on social media feeds around the globe, Alex C. explains what prompted her to share her baking journey with the world. “I wanted to share on TikTok to help other people,” she says. “I love helping people in my everyday personal life, so I figured if I could help some people on social media, why not try?”
“I think it’s awesome if [my videos] help encourage someone to make their own bread for themselves or their family,” she adds.
For McGuire, using her bread maker is an easy way to make moments with friends and family special. “I always make [homemade bread] for friends and family when they come over for dinner,” she says. “There’s nothing better than a house full of the smell of fresh bread. I also love to give it as a gift when new neighbors move in or if someone is struggling.”
Chelsea’s Bread Maker Recipe
Courtesy of Chelsea McGuire
1 cup warm water
½ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk
1 ½ cups of bread flour
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon of instant yeast
1. Place all ingredients in the bread maker pan in listed order.
2. Utilize the settings on your bread maker for a 1.5-pound loaf of bread.
3. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing, then serve and enjoy.
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