Large supermarket chains will almost always have a bread special on offer. You will often see: buy two loaves of a certain brand for $5, usually saving you $1 or more. Just freeze one loaf and use the other. Also, look for specials toward the end of the day – bread prices may drop so it can be sold before fresh loaves come in the following day.
Buy generic brands
Store brands are no longer the bland-tasting food they used to be. Companies have worked hard to make the flavour comparable to that of the more popular brands, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Whether you want multigrain, wholemeal or white, or toast or sandwich varieties, you can save more than half the price of similar bread with a premium brand name.
Count the slices
This may seem a little strange, but the number of slices does vary between the loaves by a few. Thicker-sliced loaves (toast bread) tend to have fewer slices in the bag, while you get more slices in thinner-sliced loaves (sandwich bread). Therefore, if you go for ‘sandwich’ breads, you will get more slices for your dollar and so it will last you longer. As a bonus, you’ll cut down on the kilojoules you eat by up to 200kJ per slice!
Avoid the self-serve rolls
Individual rolls tend to cost a little more than prepackaged rolls. You can pay up to 80 cents per individual roll compared to about $3.50 for half a dozen similar rolls. As a general rule, you tend to pay less if you buy in bulk. Freeze any you don’t use immediately in freezer bags and defrost them as you need them.
Shop above and below eye level
The most expensive brands are often placed at eye level, so look a couple of shelves up or down and you’ll come across less expensive items. Buy one and try it. If you like the taste, then you’ve backed a financial winner.
Buy day-old bread where possible
It will cost you next to nothing and you can either use it for toast or let it become really stale and make your own breadcrumbs, saving you another few dollars.
Experiment with types
A six–pack of Lebanese and pita breads can be about $1 less expensive than a loaf of sliced bread. They have roughly the same amount of servings as sliced bread (if you use two slices per sandwich), and are usually lower in kilojoules, too.
Eat before you shop
Just one sniff of that heavenly smell of freshly baked bread and we begin scooping all types of rolls and loaves into our shopping trolley. But have a good lunch or breakfast before you shop and you are more likely to spend a little more time shopping for the better-value loaves.
Storing and using bread
Keeping it fresh
To keep sliced bread and soft rolls fresh, you need to prevent any loss of moisture. Sliced bread is best stored in its wrapper or a plastic bag and placed in a cool, dry place, such as a well-ventilated bread bin or pantry, for up to four days.
To keep crusty loaves and rolls fresh, such as Pasta Dura, store in a paper bag and consume on the day it is baked.
If your bread contains perishable ingredients, such as meat and cheese, store in a paper bag and freeze the second day.
Note: Don’t store bread in the fridge as it becomes stale more quickly in dry air at low temperatures.
Freezing and thawing
If you know you are not going to eat your bread within four days, store it in the freezer. Squeeze the air from the bread bag, without squashing the bread, or place in a freezer bag. Tightly seal and place in the freezer for up to four months.
To thaw frozen bread, it’s best to let it defrost naturally in an area of the kitchen with no drafts to dry it out. This will take about 5 minutes per slice or 25 minutes per loaf. If you’re in a hurry, wrap the bread in paper towels and place in the microwave on HIGH for about 10 seconds for a slice, or 2 minutes for a loaf. You can also toast bread directly from the freezer.
To revive crusty bread loaves or rolls, place them in an oven preheated to 160°C for about 15 minutes, along with a dish of water. This will warm the bread, while keeping a crunchy crust.