Frugal DIY Breads From Around the World

by Alison Wood
Frugal DIY Breads photo

Making your own bread can help reduce food costs. Try these simple, inexpensive DIY breads to get started saving dough by making your own dough.

Cinnamon buns, bagels, tortillas… Oh my! Lots of the breads we frequently enjoy can be made at home.

Choosing to make bread at home can save you some extra dollars that you can invest in other grocery needs. Unlike the way that movies and television shows portray, making bread does not require hours of back-breaking work. In fact, the kneading process is typically only five to ten minutes, and the majority of the cooking time is the time it takes for the bread to rise. During that time, you could be doing other things. It requires no supervision or thought. You simply set it and forget it!

Try these simple, do-it-yourself breads to get started making your own.

Homemade Bagels

I started making these when I realized the third-world country in which I was living did not have bagels. Oh, the culture shock! It’s hard to imagine a country would exist without these wonderful breakfast favorites for many American families, but alas!

There are still countries that have not yet discovered and grown an appreciation for bagels. But I have good news! They are easily made at home. Add your own flavors and extra seasonings to create the perfect bagel.


1 1/2 cups water
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 quarts water, to boil
1 egg white


In a large mixing bowl, mix yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let the mixture stand for several minutes. Next, mix two cups of the flour and salt until combined. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Now, slowly add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Once all the flour is mixed in, place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until double in size, approximately one hour. After one hour, punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal parts. Now, fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, shape each piece of dough into a bagel. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat and let the water simmer. Add bagels to the water, three at a time, and allow them to cook for only one minute. Then, drain each bagel and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until bagels are golden brown. Turn once during baking time for even cooking. Yields: 12 bagels.

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Homemade Tortillas

Our family loves Tex-Mex and these tortillas make them out-of-this-world yummy! Don’t worry if you don’t have a tortilla maker. I always make mine by hand. It’s quite simple, but it is a little messy. If you don’t mind cleaning up a floury kitchen, then roll up your sleeves and prepare some tortillas!


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup oil (you can substitute 4 tablespoons of shortening if you desire.)


Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If you are using shortening, cut shortening into the mixture until the shortening resembles pea-sized pieces. If using oil, add after mixing dry ingredients and stir with a spoon. Now, add water until a kneadable dough is formed. If it is too dry, add more water. If it is too sticky, add more flour. Knead for five minutes to create a smooth dough.

Now, roll the dough into approximately 15 medium-sized balls. Set aside and flour a large surface for rolling the tortillas. Flour a rolling pin and roll tortillas one at a time until the desired thickness is reached. Gently move a tortilla to a lightly oiled skillet and fry on medium-low heat. After the tortilla begins to have small bubbles, flip onto the opposite side. Remove from heat and repeat for each tortilla. Serve hot. Yields: 15 tortillas.

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Rustic Round Bread

This is a quick bread to get on the table. If you’re pinched for time and you are serving soup, pair it with this quick bread for a complete, filling meal!


2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme
8 tablespoons cold butter
1 egg
1 1/2 cup milk


In a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Next, cut in butter until butter is small and pea-sized. Now, add all liquid ingredients and stir until moistened. The batter should resemble cornbread batter. Bake in a greased and floured eight-inch round cake pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Yields: 6 servings.

Enjoy your homemade bread and your sweet-smelling kitchen!

Reviewed January 2024

About the Author

Alison Wood is a writer for several online parenting resources, a missionary in Southeast Asia, mom to six kiddos and blogs about parenting, pregnancy and frugal living at Pint-Sized Treasures.

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