Baking is fun, but in today’s world, where cakes and buns are available to buy at relatively inexpensive prices, many families prefer to buy a box of donuts, a sandwich cake, or an artisan loaf from the local supermarket rather than spend a few hours in the kitchen sifting flour or kneading dough.
There is nothing wrong with this approach if you are time poor, but what you might not have considered, apart from the fact baking is a pleasurable activity, is that baking from scratch is actually cheaper once you have the raw ingredients readily available in your kitchen cupboard.
Before supermarkets appeared in every town, baking was a commonplace activity. 60 years ago, most women still worked in the home, so they cooked meals from scratch and baked once or twice a week. People would not have dreamed of buying a sandwich cake, buns or biscuits, unless they went out to a tea shop as a special treat.
Today, baking is a novelty and although programmes like The Great British Bake-Off have reignited us with a passion for baking cakes, pastries and breads, the vast majority of families still go to the supermarket for their baked goods.
But I don’t have time to bake! I hear you cry. Perhaps that’s true, but have you considered how much money you will save if you start baking and making instead of buying? Have you also considered how much healthier you and your kids will be if you ditch the mass produced sweet buns, cakes, and breads?
Cakes, buns, biscuits and breads produced in bulk by supermarkets bear no resemblance to anything your grandmother would have baked. Her cakes and breads contained staple ingredients such as flour, sugar, fat and eggs, plus some added extras like cocoa, lemon, coffee and other flavourings. Check the ingredients on any cake bought from a supermarket and I bet the list of ingredients is as long as your arm, with many of them unfathomable.
Manufacturers load cakes, bread, buns and biscuits with all kinds of extra ingredients, including preservatives and other chemicals. This is neither healthy nor desirable. Mass produced cakes taste overly sweet and are usually way more expensive than anything you can make at home.
Cost is a big issue for many families, so if your kids have a sweet tooth and like nothing better than to eat a slab of chocolate cake with their orange juice, you will be able to save money by baking your own cakes, bread and sweet treats.
One argument many parents use is that baking takes time and they don’t have enough time to spare. This is fair enough, but baking is an activity you can do with your kids at the weekend. Instead of allowing them to waste hours in front of a screen, do some baking. It’s interactive and fun - you can also eat the results!