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11 June 2008

Bread and butter

Thank you for your comments yesterday. I'm quite overwhelmed by them. In the next few days I'll work out my plan of attack and write about it again later in the week.

We've had a lot of women sign up for the swap. Please remember the deadline for sign-ups is Thursday, June 12. Sharon and Lorraine are organising it and they will post the list of swap partners next Monday.

In the meantime, let's get back to reskilling ourselves.

If you're like us and enjoy fresh warm bread for lunch, or if you have a family who needs feeding NOW, one of your great frugal standbys is homebaked bread with butter. I have to confess, I like Vegemite on my bread and toast but I won't hold it against you if you don't. ;- )

I baked a soy and linseed loaf yesterday and when Hanno commented on the price of bread now I decided to do a little investigating. My bread cost approximately $2 to bake. Here is the breakdown: my soy/linseed flour cost $2.80 a kilo (2.2 lbs) or 43 cents per cup, white baker's flour costs me $1.52 a kilo, or 23 cents per cup. This loaf uses four cups of flour. All the following amounts are slight over-estimations: yeast 5 cents, salt 2 cents, sugar 2 cents, water 1 cent, butter 5 cents, oats and poppy seeds for the top 3 cents, electricity 50 cents. Total $2.

The Helga's soy and linseed loaf, which is the closest loaf to what I make, is currently listed as $4.73 online at Woolworths. A saving of $2.73 per loaf.

I made this loaf using the breadmaker to knead the dough. I then put the dough in a bread tin and cooked it in the oven. Making it by hand would slightly decrease the cost but increase the time spent on it.

I've been experimenting with spreads for or bread. I LOVE butter - and it shows. LOL! I'm trying to cut down on the amount of butter I eat and have recently been whipping the butter and adding water to it. It increases in volume, so it goes further and is cheaper, but it tastes the same. When you put whipped butter in the fridge it goes hard, just like unwhipped butter, so I've been keeping ours out on the bench so it's ready for use during the day.

You can't bake with whipped butter and if I put it on really hot bread, it makes it a bit soggy. I have to wait for the bread to cool down a bit before spreading the butter. On room temperature bread, it's fine.

To make whipped butter, have the butter at room temperature and place it in a bowl. Beat it with your electric whisk to soften it and break it up. To 1 cup of butter add a ½ cup of lukewarm water, little bits at a time and beat into the butter. To make it go even further, you could add some olive oil as well, about ½ cup. At the moment we are eating the butter and water mix but I've used the butter+oil+water mix over the past month and it's fine. Again, it's not suitable for baking, but excellent for sandwiches.

Make sure you put the butter in the fridge every night but it's perfectly fine to keep it out on the bench during the day - depending on the temperature at your home. If it's very hot, you'll need to keep it in the fridge all the time.

Finally, I had this note from a reader recently:

I'm a student at Pomona
College in Claremont, California and recently spent a good amount of time looking into the various clothesline and drying rack options since Pomona is going to purchase some for student use and I wanted to make sure we purchased the best available option.

In my research, I was shocked to find that there is NO good website explaining all the different clotheslines and drying rack options, so I made my own! It's a wiki page on the Tip the Planet sustainable living wiki that ANYONE CAN EDIT. You can check it out here:

I've looked at the wiki site and I think it's a great summation of how clothes may be line dried. I recommend
it to you as a free reference for anyone wanting to line dry their clothes.


  1. Hi Rhonda
    I blend 1 lb. of butter with 1 cup of Canola Oil, beat with an electric mixer until nice and smooth, Pour into a plastic container and refrigerate. The best part is IT STAYS SOFT AND SPREADABLE IN THE FRIDGE! :)

    Also Canola is quite a healthy oil.
    It taste is unchanged from regular butter, it's cheaper than plain butter, and it's soo good.


  2. Your homemade bread looks delicious! I will try whipping my butter to stretch it a bit! Thanks for the link to the clothesdrying site. I love hanging out clothes and currently have 4 loads flapping in the breeze!! Thanks Rhonda!

  3. What is Vegemite ? and I LOVE your butter dish.

  4. That bread looks delicious (boy, I'm hungry .. it's dinner time!).

    That is a great site about line drying clothes. I just sent that link to some co-workers as we were talking about options for line drying clothes just the other day!

  5. Just stopped in from Tipnuts and I can tell already that your blog is going to be a favorite. I just began blending my own butter with canola for a spreadable texture, but I will be trying extra virgin olive oil soon as well.

    Your bread looks amazing ~ and you can't beat the health of a fresh baked loaf without all the chemicals and preservatives in standard shelf breads.

    Looking forward to reading more,

  6. What, no Hills Rotary Hoist! The Aussie backyard icon!
    A excellent wiki page summary, but doesn't it make you weep that there are so many of those overdesigned, expensive (in one sense or another) objects sitting in warehouses and homes around the world, when all you really need is a bit of rope tied between two trees or sticks, or some ingenuity. (Think Scouts and camping - knowing how to tie knots helps.)
    I have recently moved to a colder, damper place, where the clothes often don't dry before the sun goes down - I looked at those plastic indoor things and decided $50 was too much for me - I improvised and made a clothes airer from two kitchen chairs with the broom and the garden hoe balanced between them. 4 metres of drying space, it works like a charm, costs me zip, and packs away in a flash. :-)

    Also, I am on quest for the perfect bread tin - my bread always sticks in the corners of my current so-called non-stick ones, even with a smear of olive oil. Where did you find your long black tin Rhonda - I love the double hump loaf. Reminds me of the days when you could buy half loaves wrapped in tissue at the shop.

  7. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Your bread looks absolutely mouthwatering.

    I also have never heard of vegamite, other than that I Love Lucy, episode.

  8. The product on the "I Love Lucy" episode was "Vitameatavegemin."

    And Vegemite is a yeasty spread, that is rather salty and delicious on bread. Many US residents don't really acquire a taste for the saltiness of it. A product that is on sale in the US is Marmite, which is pretty close. I learned to enjoy these foods while living in England, where Marmite is readily available.
    Check out the Wiki pages:

  9. Thank you to the student from Pomona College!
    I do not have a washer and drier and occasionally hand wash with a small scrubber made of a wooden frame and centered metal plate with ridges. Old fashion, that's for sure. I was lucky to find one in a small hardware store here in town. Cute little thing that I keep in my bathroom.
    I've always wondered what options there were when it came to drying racks.

    I will definitely reference this info when I purchase a drying rack. I particularly like the ceiling-mounted indoor racks to take advantage of the ceiling space, but I may opt for a small folding one because it's mostly for small jobs.
    Thanks again! Oh, and I was recently in Pomona College to see the wonderful James Turrell exhibit. Beautiful college and town.

  10. Your bread looks so yummy! And the whipped butter is a great idea.

  11. Your bread looks great. I haven't commented in a while but I come regular to visit. I learn so much from you. I do have one question though. I thought the life you all chose to live, was without working outside the home. Then I read that you work. I don't see how you can work and do all the simple life things. I would love to hear from you about this or see a post. Thanks

  12. Hello everyone.

    Vegemite is a salty yeast spread.

    Marg, the Hills Hoist is listed on that page.

    Lea, welcome.

    Valerie, I work as co-ordinator of my local Neighbourhood Centre. We look after the homeless and disadvantaged. I work as a volunteer two or three days a week. I teach budgeting and life skills and manage the Centre.

    I get up at 4am to write my blog so it doesn't impact too much on my day. Most days I cope well but whenever something needs to be left to another time, it's left. Neither Hanno nor I stress about what can't be done on any particular day.

  13. Marg, I forgot to add, I got the tin at Aldi. It came as a two pack, this tin and a larger one. Both are expandable.

  14. Wow! I never knew there are so much things to dry your wash!
    I use the European stuff, i have rackets on doors in the attic. But when i have too much wash i hang them on doors of our sleepingrooms. Drying in our garden won't work so well. Less wind and too much trees.

    I love marmite and vegemite. Especially on bread with peanutbutter and some cucumberslices ;)

    I have a dutch version of the american, vegetarian cookbook 'Laurel's kitchen'. In that book there is a recipe for 'best butter' where butter is combined with oil. For some extra binding you can use 1/4 teaspoon of lecithin.
    I've made this butter for several years, but don't use it anymore because of my vegan diet. Now i use mostly light tahin (also great with minerals such as calcium) and i use organic coconutoil. But these options are more expensive.

    About your topic yesterday. I hope you publice a book and i really hope i can buy it here in the Netherlands.

    Love, Annikka from Holland

  15. Hi Rhonda Jean

    Found your blog through Kez - great stuff you have here! Do you mind if I link to yours from mine? The more like minds we have working together the better.

    Your bread looks absolutely delicious! Trouble is I don't eat wheat and have tried to make some wheat-free loaves, only to turn out something akin to housebricks. Any suggestions for wheat-free breads?

    love and light

  16. I had to laugh Rhonda. We have the same butter dish, only mine is pink. I have to say, it is one of my most favourite gifts from my Dh.

  17. Well that wiki page sort of makes my blog post of today a waste of energy! I knew I had to read your blog first before doing my own post this morning. :-( I'm so disappointed, I really felt I had something today......

    Anyway, just wanted to say your bread looks delicious!!
    Christine from the NL

  18. Like the first commenter, I also blend my butter with canola oil 1 to 1 ratio. Blend until completely smooth, and it will refrigerate and spread nicely. It is a bit oilier when it starts to melt, but the difference is very small. It tastes just a bit less salty, too. We call it "Better Butter" around here.
    Thanks Rhonda, for great posts!

  19. Hi RJ

    That bread look delish. just wondering if you have a fave site for your bread recipes, or a book or do you just wing it? I haven't got past the basic white loaves but would love to get more adventurous!

  20. Mmmmmm! Your breads always make me hungry, they look so delicious. I haven't made any yet since I don't know how to convert the measurements into the American system. Duh, I guess I could look it up! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE real butter, thanks for the tip on how to make it go further.


  21. Great post Rhonda! I'll be trying the butter blending soon.

    I love Marmite! I think it has a slightly sharper taste than Vegemite; both are available in UK now. My daughter lived in Australia years ago and developed a big love for Vegemite and craved it for ages after she came home (wasn't available here then) Now she's living permanently in Australia and is craving Marmite! ;)

  22. Oh Rhonda Jean, the bread looks just scrumptious!
    You always inspire me to try new things with my breadmaking and so much more!
    I have looking through my bread making books and marking recipes that I would like to try!

    I had no idea that you could add oil or water to butter and it wouldn't affect the taste.
    I am definitely gonna start doing that!

    Thanks for sharing so much with us!
    I appreciate you and your wonderful blog very much!

  23. Lovely bread, I am just finishing off the sunflower loaf I made....

    Our fuel has now reached £6 a gallon.....not sure how much that is in Aus Dol. We are trying so hard to keep the car on the road, it is becoming very difficult....we are also being rationed for rice, we do not have room for a large store cupboard, so we are very much at the mercy of the supermarkets for staples...I might have to visit our local asian supermarket and see if they have any rice.

    Just started off a pot of yoghurt, and I need to make another loaf tomorrow.

    We do not have the advantage of being able to dry our clothes outside, we have not choice, so have to use a dryer. We have had two new ones delivered today, they are computerised, so guess I am going to have to get my instructors hat on again, they have just got used to washing in the computerised washer, now they have to wrestle with a sinilar dryer....hey ho.... thats life!!!!!

  24. Hello, It sounds like your doing well. Great link for the clothes lines. I so miss mine while we are selling out. We are using Dave Ramsey's ideas and look so forward to getting into a smaller mortgage or no mortgage. It is three months now. It cost too much to even sell our home. My life style like yours make such a huge difference. Living for "show" to sell has cost us quite a bit.
    Mixing butter with honey also finds favor with the kids.

  25. I make a lot of herb butter. Yum!

    My husband really likes honey butter.

    And yes, it shows on us, too!


    P.S. You should submit your writing to Storey Publishing. Something tells me that they would love it!

  26. Hi Rhonda:
    I am in Nova Scotia,Canada. I just found your wonderful blog.
    Your Soy Linseed bread looks divine.
    Would you share your recipe please!

    Hugs from Canada, Aileen


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