Breadkeepers and Homewinners

This is a post about bread, and unit costing.


You enjoy mass produced bread less once you see it being made on TV. It’s more like a piped wheat foam that is baked, then sliced. You’ll never compete with an industrial process on price or volume. But when you make your own bread, you are competing with more expensive, labour intensive “artisan” loaves, typically made by hand.

For example – buying rye sourdough in a bakers is $5. Buying the ingredients costs $1 per loaf, and the electricity costs me 5c. It takes me about 15 minutes to make and cleanup. The loaf isn’t as good, but it’s about 50% bigger than the bakers. So that’s a decrease in the price, and an increase in size, which seems to be the opposite of every other trend in food and drink.

Making your own is surprisingly easy and cheap, but requires you to lock down a few variables in your kitchen, that won’t be in recipes. Hopefully the notes cover it. If you make mistakes, eat them, and learn for the next time.

Probably couldn’t go too far wrong with the Irish food board recipe to start, Celia.


Weigh the ingredients, don’t go by volume.

Sieve both flours a bit above the mixing bowl to get more air in. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 in fag notation) – the raising action comes from the acid-base reaction with the buttermilk. It’s not “baking powder”, if that’s on your American shelf. Don’t go overboard on the bread soda, it can give a metallic taste.

Make sure your oven temperature is reliable, use a thermometer if necessary.

It will be moist on the inside when it’s done. Stick a skewer in, and if it comes out clean, the bread is cooked.

Wrap it in a clean cotton dishcloth/teatowel once it’s cooked, and let the moisture steam through the crust on a wire tray.

Buy Irish for your butter, or whatever grassfed butter you can get your hands on.


This is a different one, but worth looking at for American brands it lists:

I’d never say there’s a fixed recipe, it’s a very robust bread that can take anything. Once you’ve made it a few times successfully, it’d be great to hear what you come up with.


9 thoughts on “Breadkeepers and Homewinners

    1. Glad it worked for you. Plenty of shit you can do with it now, like putting steel cut oats over the dough (a European site might call it pinhead oatmeal), adding fruits, molasses, or Guinness!
      Demerara sugar and walnuts are always winners in sodabread.

      Thanks for the share, that looks quality. Even if I make 1% of the stuff I see, I use the rest in anything I write.

      Did you ever come across an Indian Sikh dessert called burfi/barfi? It’s sugar+butter+cardamom, but it’s damn fine. We got trays of it as part of an interfaith group in work.

  1. Homemade bread is the best thing ever. I’ve done it a few times in the past, but I don’t eat that much bread and I don’t like things going to waste, so I don’t do it anymore. It doesn’t last as long as good old preservative-laden store bread.

  2. Also, up next I’d like to try again at making my own homemade twarog and yogurt. Then after that all I have to do is buy a goat for my .01 acre yard and it’s all set.

  3. So I use the bordbia recipe but skip honey, use regular milk, and two teaspoons of baking soda for a fluffier but a bit drier loaf. Works pretty well. Can certainly do much worse for a daily bread to eat. I have approximately enough whole wheat flour left for a loaf of bread every day for 2 weeks.

    Also my friend, from friends and pie vs gains, liked my elderberry schnapps. So next year I hope to buy enough grain alcohol to schapps-ize all my berries, then later put said berries in pies.

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