Weekend Reading: Sourdough Edition

My wife loves to bake and earlier this year she decided to make her own sourdough starter to keep up with all the bread we eat. After a couple of weeks of trial and error – following a starter-along sourdough series online – she was able to harvest a usable starter for bread-making.

It’s great to have a fresh loaf of sourdough bread to eat toast in the morning, and to make sandwiches for lunch or dinner. But it does take some effort to maintain an active starter and to churn out 4-6 loaves of bread every week to keep up with customer demand (i.e. me and the kids). My wife also uses the starter to make a sourdough pizza crust for our homemade pizza nights. It’s fantastic!

Are we saving money? I’d say so. All that’s needed to maintain a healthy sourdough starter is bread flour and water. We buy three 5 kilogram bags of bread flour every month, at a cost of roughly $10 per bag ($30 total). For that, we get about 20 loaves of bread and 3-4 pizzas every month.

We’re three months into this sourdough experiment and so far it has definitely been worthwhile.

This week’s recap:

Last week I reviewed Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. The authors were kind enough to send me an extra copy to giveaway on the blog. The luck winner of the giveaway is Shelly, who left a comment on June 28th at 10:44am. Congratulations Shelly!

On Monday I wrote about the evolution of loyalty programs and how retailers use these programs now to help shape consumer behaviour.

On Wednesday Marie looked into online contests and sweepstakes and offered some tips to increase your chances of winning.

And on Friday Marie explained how seniors can protect their nest-egg in retirement.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I shared my latest credit card rewards hack – picking up 2,000 bonus Air Miles in the process.

Weekend Reading:

Here’s a quick puzzle to test your problem solving skills. The short game sheds light on government policy, corporate America, and why no one likes to be wrong.

Read Moshe Milevsky’s bold plan to reinvent retirement income using something called a ‘tontine’.

A 17-year-old is already saving $500 per month and he asks Million Dollar Journey blogger Frugal Trader for some advice on what to do next.

Retired economist Peter Drake on why the future is bright, and other lessons learned from 50 years of work.

Travel expert Barry Choi explains how to avoid roaming charges when travelling abroad.

Credit card transactions have evolved from swipe, to chip & pin, tap & go, and now digital or mobile wallets. Could facial recognition be next?

Our Big Fat Wallet lists four airline perks to make flying easier.

Jason Zweig on why good advice gets drowned out by advice that just sounds good.

Alberta is the only province without a dental fee guide, and dentists are free to set their prices at whatever level they choose.

Rob Carrick compares Canada’s housing market today to the high rates of 1981.

Jonathan Chevreau reminds us why higher fund fees equals lower fund performance.

Two of Canada’s top financial advisors answer the question: “What retirement financial tip do you wish you’d given yourself when you were 30?”

The Globe and Mail’s Ian McGugan says Canada should do away with the requirement for minimum withdrawals from RRIFs:

Retirees would breathe easier once they were no longer the prisoners of an artificial schedule for drawing down their savings.

Jason Heath tackles the subject of whether a Couch Potato portfolio is appropriate for retirees.

Only 40 percent of those in their 40s and 50s are taking full advantage of employer-matching savings programs, leaving an estimated $3 billion per year on the table.

Finally, an interesting read on baby boomers and the bust in Muskoka’s vacation land.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on July 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Robb, thanks for the mention. Dentist fees in Alberta are sky high and it’s time the government did a review of them. I use a dentist in BC and although it’s a bit of a hassle it does save some money (most is covered through my work plan)

    • Echo on July 5, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Hey Dan, that’s interesting. Maybe I can find a good family dentist in Fernie.

  2. Tawcan on July 5, 2015 at 6:12 am

    My wife regularly make different types of bread as well and it’s definitely cheaper than buying bread from Cobs Bread.

  3. Gail Bebee on July 5, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Hey Rob, the Barry Choi link needs fixing. I get the link to the Peter Drake article.

    • Echo on July 5, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Gail – fixed!

  4. E. Fraser on July 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I experimented with making my own bread for a time and got close to obese fairly quickly. Now I eat bread as a rare treat. My carbs tend to come from oatmeal, brown rice and full grain rye bread once in a while. The obesity threat has subsided.

    • Echo on July 5, 2015 at 8:40 am

      We worried about that at first, however sourdough has better health benefits than other breads (http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2008/07/sourdough_bread.html) and we’ve found that we eat less of it than what we were consuming before. Two thin slices of sourdough toast is less calories than a bagel, for example.

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