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Food staples you can make

Posted on February 10th, 2012 by Alley Pezanoski-Browne 4 Comments

In an ideal world, we’d all know exactly where our food comes from, and we’d make it with our own two hands. What keeps a lot of people from making their own food are worries about time and money. But some food staples are actually cheaper when homemade. And if you produce things in bulk, homemade may even be time-saving in the long run too.

Here are the best food staples to prepare yourself:

Courtesy of Teuobk (via Flickr)


The downside to making your own bread is the time and planning it requires. If you need bread for sandwiches on Monday, you need to start the loaf on Saturday and bake it by Sunday night. The entire process, including time for the bread to rise, is about 20 hours. But if you make a lot once and then freeze it, it won’t seem like too much of a time burden.

And the price difference is the major upside to making your own bread. Homemade bread costs $0.66 per loaf ($0.04 per slice) whereas store-bought bread is $3.99 or $0.25 a slice! That’s a big difference. Plus it just tastes a lot better. Here’s a great recipe for No-Knead Bread.


I would never that yogurt was a simple thing to make, but apparently it is! Though, like with bread rising, yogurt takes a bit of time to incubate. The trick is to pick a time where you can leave it and come back to it later.

Here’s a quick run-down of how to make it (for more detailed instructions visit theKitchn website):

  • You’ll need a 1/2 gallon of whole or 2% milk (skim can be used to).
  • You’ll need a 1/2 cup of commercial yogurt with active cultures (you’ll only need this the first time you make it).
  • Heat the milk in a saucepan to just below boiling. Make sure to stir.
  • Let the milk cool until it’s just hot to the touch.
  • Pour the milk into a bowl, and whisk it with the yogurt.
  • Warm your oven to 115 degrees. Then turn it off. Put the yogurt-milk into a lidded pan, wrap it in layers of towels, and then put it in the oven for 4-6 hours until it sets.
  • Cool your yogurt in the same pan until it’s completely chilled. Then you can put it into containers to store it.
Making your own yogurt rather than buying it is about a $0.75 per week savings.


Courtesy of little blue hen (via Flickr)

In order to make mayonnaise, all you need is:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape-seed oil or peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


Are you one of those people who puts ketchup on everything? Well, homemade ketchup is beyond easy to make. To make ketchup, just purée 1/3 cup water, 3 small tomatoes, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a food processor or blender.

Other things that are cheaper to make:

If you want to have even more homemade foods, Jennifer Reese’s book Make the Bread Buy the Butter has 120 recipes.

4 Responses

  1. Leslie says:

    I make a soda bread because it doesn’t require so much planning! 2c ap flour, 2c whole wheat flour, 2 c butter milk (I usually use powered milk with vinegar added), 2 Tsp salt, 1 tsp soda, 1 tsp powder, 1 TBSP honey. Mix it all up ’til it holds together. Knead in another 1/4 -1/2 c ap flour, about 3-5 minutes, shape into a ball and gently karate chop an x in the top. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Prep time is about 10 minutes!

    The bread is dense, slices well, and absolutely delicious.

    Thanks for the yogurt recipe, can’t wait to try it.

  2. Jen says:

    I’ve never spent 20 hours making bread! you certainly CAN spend 20 hrs making bread, but you can make a simple, quick baguette in about 2 hrs total. It’s not as tasty as bread where the dough has been left to rise for hours and hours but it’s not bad and will do in a pinch!

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