Bake it cheaper!

I love baking and in an ideal world I would make all my own cakes and biscuits, rather than buy plastic wrapped shop bought versions which often contain ingredients I’m not so keen on.  Baking at home isn’t always a cheap option though especially if the recipe calls for expensive ingredients such as chocolate or nuts, however luckily there are ways to reduce the cost of a recipe.

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I’ve listed below some of the ways that I save money on my home baking:

1. Substitute expensive ingredients for cheaper ones:
As long as you keep the ratios of eggs, fat, flour and raising agents (or self raising flour if needed) the same, most recipes will work and you can vary the level of non-essential ingredients to taste, preference and budget.  In particular you can: 
  1. Swap chocolate drops for raisins
  2. Reduce the amount of cocoa in the recipe and compensate with flour.
  3. Use homemade vanilla extract
  4. Swap expensive nuts for cheaper ones or leave them out all together
  5. Use homegrown or foraged fruit and berries in pies and muffins
Go manual:

If you are starting from scratch with baking equipment or are baking away from home, you don’t need to rush out and buy electrical appliances

  1. Cups are a great alternative to scales – they don’t use batteries and are likely to go on working for a lifetime. 
  2. To avoid the need to use an electric beater (as mine is not working at the moment),  I often substitute butter with 50:50 oil and water, which means I don’t need to ‘cream’ butter and sugar together and can just stir them with a spoon.  If you really want to use butter but don’t have a beater then just can mix it up with your hands (a bit messy, but it does the job!).  Whisking egg whites for meringues and other recipes manually is slightly harder work, but you could look upon egg whisking as a great opportunity to strengthen your muscles!

Efficient use of electricity:

  • We have solar panels, so for us it makes the most sense to bake in the day time, especially on a sunny day when we are generating electricity.
  • When baking use up all the shelves in your oven while they it is on and make the most of the electricity being used – a good opportunity to do some batch cooking to freeze for another day.

Use what you have and then shop around:

  • It is so easy to lose things at the back of the cupboard – it is great to get into the habit of checking what you have first before going shopping and making sure you use it up first (something I regularly fail to do!).
  • If you don’t have all the ingredients you need for a recipe, then consider possible substitutes before rushing out to buy them e.g. eggs can be substituted with bananas in certain circumstances.
  • If you are going to go shopping, spend a little time looking at suppliers and consider buying in bulk/ stocking up when items are on sale.  You have check carefully though as bulk buying isn’t always cost effective and does mean you have to find somewhere to store it all.

Hope these tips have helped – happy baking!

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