I’ve been meaning to share this for a few days now, but due to life getting in the way, I haven’t been able to take the time to make more of these sandwich buns and photograph the process. As I mentioned in my first post about responsibility, one of the changes we made was making some items at home, rather than buying. Here’s what went into that decision.
!. When attempting to work on our finances, we wanted to make some easy changes to our day to day lives. We looked at where money was going, and pin pointed areas where we could save. In this case, Pat was buying lunch Monday-Friday (usually at Subway, though occasionally at a local deli/sandwich shop). The average cost spent was 8$/day or about 160$/month, with no prep required.
2. I then tried a less labour intensive solution: Purchasing ready-made sandwich buns from the local store. The cost break down is this:
Condiments and other toppings: 0.35/sandwich
Total Sandwich cost for the month: About 81$ (about 50.6% of the Subway cost)
Prep Required: About a second or two more to my grocery shopping time, and about 5 minutes to make the sandwich.
As you can tell, there was a significant price difference here. We started on that route. We did, however, notice that the buns purchased were rarely available the day they were made (ie: they were already a day or two old when we bought them), and as a result, wouldn’t last the week, resulting in either a day of purchased lunch or dipping into other groceries for a different meal.
3. In an attempt to save a bit more money, force myself out of my comfort zone, try to make something that would last longer and to try something new, I decided to make my own buns. Here is the cost breakdown:
Total Sandwich cost for the month: 56$ (35% of the original subway cost)
Prep Required: This is where there is a major difference. While the actual work involved was maybe only 10 minutes of actual effort, the buns took the better part of the day to make and require staying close to home.
So, is it worth it? Depends. When I have time – Absolutely. I found the process of making the bread extremely soothing. I felt proud that my efforts yielded such tasty results. Having said that, I will definitely rely on store-bought when we have a crazy week. On a personal level, I really love the challenge of getting back to the basics. Homemade bread, homemade sauces, etc… I feel better about what my family is eating when I know every single ingredient in each part of their meal – because I made it myself. As a bonus – There is nothing better in this world than a slice of bread, hot from the oven, smothered in butter and honey with a cup of tea. Seriously.
And now for the recipe itself. I found it here. It really is a perfect fit for the delicious po boy bread of New Orleans (squishy soft inside, thin crunchy crust). I won’t re-write it all, but rather share my experience with it (if you haven’t made bread before, please don’t be nervous! This is seriously my second time ever, and it wasn’t hard in the least.)
A Responsible Sandwich Bun
1. Following the recipe from The Galley Gourmet, mix your ingredients on low until bread pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add salt and then set to knead for 10 minutes on medium. (Note: I used a blend of white bread flour and multigrain bread flour)
2. Form a ball on a floured surface. Place in a greased bowl, cover with clingwrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise (about 1hr 1/2. I used this time to put the baby down for a nap, eat all of the left over Apple Crisp from the Farmer’s Market and watch some Weeds)
3. Deflate the dough on a floured surface. Divide into as many “loaves” or buns as you would like (recipe recommends 6-8). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 15 minutes
4. Form rolls, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth, let sit for an hour.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375.
Let buns cool completely for tasty sandwich bread, or, dive right in like me and enjoy the hollow tasty (and cheap) goodness.