Making the Most of a Bargain on Breads

by Gina Blitstein · 2 comments

Recently I discovered a saving secret at my new grocery store – a cart full of bargain bread! At certain fortunate times of the day, a customer can find a cart in the bakery department overflowing with loaves of bakery breads and bags of rolls at super-discounted prices – often one-sixth the regular price! That’s a significant savings by anyone’s standards. During a recent shopping trip I bought each of the following for $.49: a bag of 5 bagels, a bag of 12 bolillo rolls (perfect for sandwiches), a 1 lb package of 2 sweet Italian loaves and a 1 lb loaf of bakery white bread. That day I came home from grocery shopping with an all new meaning of “carb loading.”

Even if your grocery store doesn’t offer a bargain bread cart, you can find discounted bread at name brand bread outlet stores. Make a stock-up trip to one every couple weeks for great prices on baked goods. For very little monetary investment, a plethora of bread can enable you to make many different dishes and ingredients.

Most likely, the reason the breads ware so steeply discounted is that their expiration date was quickly approaching. Of course, it was more bread than I could use in a short amount of time so the clock was ticking to put it to good use. Here are some of the frugal ways I use extra bread:

  • Freeze it – At the very least, stash some bread in the freezer so you don’t run out. Most homes go through bread rapidly so it’s nice to have extra on hand. Bread products freeze beautifully and can be quickly thawed.
  • Table bread – Any slices, loaves or rolls can be served with meals. Think of your favorite restaurant’s basket of mixed breads and rolls placed upon your table.
  • Garlic bread – Use sliced breads, or slice loaves or rolls, spread with olive oil or butter and a sprinkle of granulated garlic and pop into the oven for a few minutes for some tasty garlic bread.
  • Plan menus around the breads you have – Put toast and sandwiches on your household’s menu when you have extra breads on hand.
  • French toast /strata /bread pudding – Many recipes call for “day-old” bread for best results. These dishes require slightly stale bread to soak in a mixture of milk and eggs. The drier bread soaks up the other ingredients like a sponge.
  • Dry it – Croutons for salad or soup, homemade stuffing and breadcrumbs can easily be made by drying bread in the oven. If desired, season it with your favorite spices and flavorings before putting it in the oven (garlic, Parmesan cheese, onion, Italian herbs…) Panzanella (bread salad) is a delicious way to use dried cubes of bread, tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Bagel chips – Using fresh bagels, slice very thinly, spread with oil or butter, season as desired and dry them slowly on a baking sheet in a low oven. These make a tasty snack on their own or can substitute for crackers with dips or cheese.

Bread is one of those grocery items that doesn’t immediately come to mind as a budget-buster, like meats. Like other groceries, however, breads can sneak up and take a bigger bite out of your budget than you expect. Cutting down wherever you can frees up money for other items.

Of course, you never know precisely what you’ll find in that cart of discounted bread – that’s half the fun! The more ideas you have in your recipe arsenal, the more you’ll be able to do with whatever you do find.

How do you save on bread?

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianne September 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

I put those stale loaves in a 200 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. They taste fresh baked.

cathy October 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I buy old french bread and make french toast out of it. I usually make the whole loaf and freeze slices separately on a cookie sheet. My husband and I eat a piece or two for a late snack before bed, no syrup. It’s just good and cheap. We heat it in the micro for 20 seconds.

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