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Do-It-Yourself Experiment #3: Homemade Hamburger Buns

Those of you who have been following my blog for the past few months know that I’m challenging myself to do 12 Do-It-Yourself Experiments in 2011. So far, I’ve been loving this!

By the way, we’ve used the Homemade Dishwashing Detergent for a month now and it’s worked really well. There’s just something about scooping out dish detergent that I mixed up myself instead of buying in a package from the store which just gives you a real sense of satisfaction.

And I’m surprising myself at how much I’m liking it. I’m getting ready to do a cost-comparison to see if it’s worth continuing to do. I’m seriously considering it, but I want to break down the price per load versus what I pay for storebought detergent.


This month’s experiment was making Homemade Hamburger Buns. I decided to go with this recipe from that a reader left as a comment.

It was really simple to do — especially since I used the bread machine to mix up the dough. The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute turbinado for the sugar.

After the dough was finished in the bread machine, it took me a little less than ten minutes to roll these out and cut them into buns. And then I let them rise and I cooked them.

I still need to perfect my hamburger dough-shaping abilities, as these didn’t look like beautiful hamburger buns you’d see at the store. But they were decent and they tasted quite delicious.

The jury’s still out on whether I’ll continue to make these. Since Dollar Tree now often carries Nature’s Own hamburger buns for just $1 per package and I can also sometimes get organic hamburger buns at the health food store reduced to just $1 per package, I’m not completely convinced that this is a money-saving do-it-yourself idea for me — especially when you factor in the costs of heating the oven, running the bread machine and the time involved in making these (at least 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish).

We’ll see. One thing’s for sure: if we ever want to have hamburgers and I don’t have any hamburger buns on hand, I’ve got a back-up plan! 🙂

And in case you missed it, here’s the list of the 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects I Plan to Try in 2011:

January: Make From-Scratch Chai Tea

February: Make Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

March: Make Homemade Hamburger Buns

April: Make Homemade Laundry Soap (I did attempt this one time before, but it was with a pre-made mix someone gave me. So I’m going to try again — this time completely from scratch!)

May: Make Appliqued Flower Tee

June: Make Homemade Hummus

July: Make Freezer Jam

August: Make Homemade Soap

September: Sew a Rag Quilt

October: Make Homemade Apple Butter

November: Make Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

December: Make Homemade Marshmallows

Have you attempted any new do-it-yourself projects recently? I’d love to hear how they went!

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  • Courtney says:

    Hamburger buns are the one baked good that I buy instead of making from scratch. For some reason, my homemade buns just never taste as light and fluffy as storebought. Yours look like they turned out really good, though!

  • Carrie says:

    I must tell you that when I saw the Artisan Bread on your list a little while ago I went out and got the book and I have been making it ever since!! Don’t put it off till November!! This is such a great way to make bread and I love having fresh bread anytime I want it. I actually bought the book for my Dad as a birthday gift and he has been making it as well. Thank you so much for suggesting the book!! Also, I have been using homemade dish detergent for some time now and I would never go back : )

    • Cristina says:

      Yes, I agree that you should move the Artisan Bread up on your list. It’s amazing! It’s so incredibly easy to make, and you can’t even find a good crusty bread like it in most grocery stores.

      I shamefully admit that I bought the book for my dad a couple of years ago, but he never used it, so now it ended up back with me.

      • Angie says:

        I agree as well!! I got HOOKED and then found the “Healthly Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and am equally excited. It will literally take you 30 min to change your bread-baking life. Just read the intro and tackle the master recipe. You won’t regret it.

        I love your website and the fact that I can relate you in almost everything. I have been down the Dollar Tree vs homemade buns analysis as well. Dollar Tree is literally one mile from my house, so they won. =)

    • Michelle says:

      Artisan bread is DELISH!! I have been making it for a while now and it is totally versatile. I’ve made all kinds of things with it – including the best rolls I have ever made. We at them with homemade BBQ from the crockpot. I’ve blogged about it here:

    • There is also a second book by the same authors of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day that is called Healthy bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It’s filled with whole grain recipes and uses natural sweeteners. We tried the basic recipe last week and LOVED it!

  • peever says:

    Does anyone have a good non-bread machine recipe for buns? I’d like to try both white and wheat buns. I’d also like to try french bread. I just got the Artisan Bread and Healthy Bread books from the library, but I have yet to go through them.

    • Erin says:

      Cooking Light actually has a wonderful recipe for baguette:

      The buns look delicious–I just wish it wasn’t for bread machines. My mom got one way back when they came out, and the taste and the texture was strange, and I’ve been biased against bread machines ever since. Just as well. Making homemade bread is therapeutic.

      • Crystal says:

        I don’t particularly care for bread made *in* the bread machine, but I love the dough cycle and use it often!

        • BeingJennifer says:

          If you do the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day you don’t need to knead your bread and it is fantastic!! So easy!!

      • Amanda says:

        I agree with Crystal. I don’t care for bread baked in the machine, but the bread maker is great for kneading the bread, especially with little ones around.

        I’m sure you could make this recipe without the bread maker. You would need to knead the bread and let it rise, just like any other handmade bread.

        Another option to consider is to look for a bread machine at a thrift store. They are often found there for quite cheap. If you think you might like it, it might be worth picking one up for a few dollars.

        • Erin says:

          Interesting! I wonder why bread tastes different baked *in* the bread machine rather than the oven? I figured it was just me. It never occurred to me to mix dough in the machine and bake it in the oven. I usually mix and knead my dough in my Kitchenaid–or by hand if I need to relieve some stress!

          • peever says:

            I just got a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas and it came with a dough hook. I need to figure out how to use that…

          • Dee says:

            Your Kitchen Aid mixer should have come with a recipe book. The white bread recipe is delicious and easy. I make rolls/buns by doing what Crystal did – make the dough and let it rise. I don’t roll it out and cut though. I find the rolls are lighter if I tear off a piece and shape it by hand. Fold the dough under and keep rotating until it forms a ball. Three or four folds should do it – don’t handle the dough a lot or it will get heavy and tough.

            Also, rule of thumb – wetter dough makes lighter bread.

  • Ana says:

    the buns made by the West ladies from Homestead blessings looks really good and easy to make. I have not made buns but use the same dough to make cinnamon rolls and they are delicious.

  • Leighann says:

    Sometimes you have to take the time something takes to make into savings consideration. Some things that take a while to cook (like a good chili!) are worth it, but some other things that might take a while to cook, it’s just more cost effective *for your time* to buy from the store.

    Those look yummy, though!

    • Becky says:

      True, but you have to consider time to buy stuff, too. If you’re already at a particular store regularly, no big deal, but if not, it might be easier to make it. For me, I live 20-25 minutes from the grocery store, and I have three young children, so it’s much easier to make most things than buy them.

      I am generally a bit confused at the homemade hamburger bun discussions. I don’t think I’ve ever had a store bought bun worth eating–most are down right nasty–but why do you need a special recipe? We just use homemade rolls whenever we have hamburgers. I bake them a dozen to a cookie sheet, so once they rise they’re usable as buns, and once you get the hang of it, it only takes maybe 4-5 minutes to shape them.

      I use 3 cups flour (bread or whole hard wheat flour), 1 cup warm water, 3 Tbsp. oil, about 1/4 cup sugar, give or take, 1 tsp. salt, and 2-3 tsp. yeast, in my bread maker. It’s probably cheaper than the recipe you used. They look great, though!

    • Crystal says:

      I very much agree. Have you seen my post on why I don’t make homemade tortillas?


  • Lynn says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing your cost comparison on the dishwasher soap.
    I know others have mentioned before about moving the Artisan Bread one up on your list. I have to agree with them. I was a bread making failure – even with a bread machine! And I LOVE the artisan bread book. Super easy and so yummy. And not a failure yet….that’s saying a lot for me. 🙂

  • Debbie says:

    I experimented with homemade pizza crust today. It was certainly not pizzeria material, but the pies came out pretty good. I’ll keep experimenting with other recipes until I get it right. Your buns look really good!

  • Jody says:

    I am wondering if the dish washing soap would be cheaper if instead of using citric acid, you took orange peels – dehydrated them (stick them in a hot car in the summer with the windows cracked) then pulverize the orange peels in the dry container of a vita-mix or something – I haven’t tried it and I would not do it unless I could get the peels into a powder (for fear of clogging the dishwasher), but it is a thought to reduce the cost.

    • Shirley says:

      That is an interesting idea. I have been using the dishwasher detergent and I have to say so far I have been really pleased and I substituted kool-aid for the citric acid. I used 3 packets of lemonade and 2 packets of pink lemonade because it is what I had on hand and the ingredients were same on the back.

    • Amanda says:

      You can also use packets of kool-aid for the citric acid. Kool-aid is citric acid and food coloring. I use the lemonade flavor so there is very little coloring and it works fine.

  • Shannon says:

    Thanks for this. One question- what is turbinado? Why do you use it?

  • You are lucky to find hamburger buns that cheap. The ones at my local store were $3.29 for a pack of 8. I have tried experimenting with hamburger buns myself. Here is a link to my recipe.

  • Teri Capshaw says:

    One suggestion when you tackle laundry soap about. If you make a liquid version and it turns out completely gross looking and lumpy just shake the bottle a bit and use it anyway. Mine was completely ugly, but worked great.

    I realized that I was paying for pretty when I got the commercial products, but they didn’t work any better. I used it for over a year before switching to soap nuts this month. (Between working a full time office job from home and caring for my seven-month-old I didn’t have enough will power to mix up another big batch after a faulty gallon milk jug completely leaked out.)

  • Sarah says:

    I LOVE my homemade laundry detergent recipe. I have been using it for several months now and I think it really cleans the laundry and removes stains. It also has such a light smell that I don’t smell the lavendar soap I used once we are wearing the clothes. I like that! I chose the powder laundry detergent because it seemed like a lot of work to have to stir the whole 3 gallon bucket everytime I wanted a 1/2 cup scoop of detergent. If you don’t have a recipe- try mine- you’ll love it!

  • Libby says:

    Saw the homemade hummus on your list for June. I just tried it in February and I can’t believe I waited so long! It was easy and super delish. It’s a new family favorite!! Here’s my post:

  • val says:

    This is the recipe I recently used and first time out and they turned out PERFECT!

    I used my KitchenAid to mix and knead the dough for like 5 minutes and that was it. No need to roll the dough or cut. Just chunk off a piece, roll a ball, press it down and move to the next one. I can honestly say it was faster than sending my husband to the store to find the right ones! Not to mention these don’t have dairy so for allergies they are perfect. Money-saving – I’m not sure but for me anytime I can avoid preservatives and added chemicals it’s well worth it in the end. 🙂

  • How fun! And I’d say wonderful home-made taste would be worth the effort.

  • Dawn says:

    I recently tried making my own marshmallows. I used the recipe from Martha Stewart. I found that smaller cuts were better, b/c they are sweet!

    I too, make my own laundry detergent, have been for over a year & I have found that it works good as a basic cleaner for almost everything, even dishes.

    • Erin says:

      I made those same marshmallows around Christmas and I was in LOVE. My favorite flavor by far was the peppermint. I also tried vanilla, vanilla rolled in toasted coconut and banana flavors (which was YUM). And they are really fun, inexpensive and surprisingly easy to make!! 🙂 Oooh, wouldn’t they be great gifts to hand out at a party? You could color them to match the decor and even dip them in fun sprinkles or chocolate. Serve them on a stick and they would be even more fun. Ok… I’m getting much too excited about marshmallows. LOL!

  • Michele says:

    The one thing that you get from baking your own hamburger buns that you don’t get from store bought………an incredible smelling home : )

  • Lori Jeffries says:

    I have tried a homemade laundry soap. It used Borax and Arm and Hammer washing soda and grated Ivory Soap. It worked very well. We have recently purchased an He machine, so I have discontinued its use.

    • Heather says:

      I know they say don”t use this in the HE machine but I have been using it for 2 years and never had a problem. Just use a little less.

  • Linda says:

    I just made some homemade dishwasher detergent and gave it to my mom. She really liked it. She used to get a lot of white reside from the hard water, but she said it was almost completely gone with the homemade version. I did have trouble finding the citric acid though. Does anyone know of a good place to get that? I ended up using Lemi-Shine to mix in, but it is not cheap. I had to do it though because of the hard water. Also, I have been reading lately about a homemade solution for washing your face made out of oil, called the oil cleansing method. Has anyone tried this — with castor oil and extra virgin olive oil? Also, some were talking about using homemade shampoo (actually going shampoo free) by using baking soda with water, and apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner. Has anyone tried this? Most reviews were very positive on both of these. I have so many free bottles of shampoo to use up though but it sounds as if your hair is in much better condition without using the shampoo. They also made homemade deoderant so it wouldn’t have the aluminum in it. I never thought of making all these homemade items.

    • Amanda says:

      Over the past few years I have experimented with all sorts of homemade items. Some I was crazy about (homemade laundry detergent) and some didn’t really work for me (like using baking soda and vinegar for my hair). I’ve made bug bite medicine, diaper rash ointment, anti-acne astringent, cough syrup, laundry detergent, dishwashing powder, baby wipes, taco seasoning mix, yogurt, chocolate syrup (for chocolate milk), household cleaning spray, and lots of baked goods. I think the key is to pace yourself. I like Crystal’s method of one per month. Also remember to consider your family’s needs and set your priorities accordingly. My oldest child had a severe reaction to store bought diaper cream, so making my own became a priority. On the other hand, I like my deodorant and I get it for cheap, so I have not tried homemade deodorant (although I encourage you to do it). And of course, remember that just because you can make it at home doesn’t mean you must. Look at your budget, your time, your family’s needs and choose what will be a blessing to you and yours. 🙂

      • Erin says:

        Amanda – can you tell me more about the bug bite medicine?

        • Amanda says:

          Sure Erin!

          The bug bite medicine is an ointment (or a salve) made from plantain. Not plantain like the weird bananas, plantain the leaf. Plantain is an herb that grows almost everywhere. It’s a common weed but it has amazing medicinal properties. If you have never worked with herbs before this may seem a bit daunting, but please know that this plantain salve was the first herbal remedy I ever made. So, it can be done!

          You can collect your own plantain leaves from your yard, but I’d recommend ordering the leaves from if you have never used plantain before. To make your salve you will need plantain leaves (dried), olive oil, and beeswax (available at local craft stores or online). You will also need a small crockpot, a mesh strainer, a few large coffee filters (or cheesecloth), a large glass bowl, and a small jars to store the salve.

          Start by measuring out two cups of dried plantain into the crock pot. Pour olive oil over the leaves until they are completely covered (about 3 cups of oil). Put on the lid and turn the crock pot to low. Let the oil heat for several hours (5 or 6 hours). It will smell weird. Don’t be disturbed. 🙂 Take a minute now and grate some beeswax.

          (By cooking the leaves in the oil, the medicinal properties from the leaves are going into the oil. Herbalists call this “infusion.” It’s sort of like making iced tea. When you place the tea leaves in hot water, the flavor and color from the leaves goes into the water. The tea leaves infuse the water and you end up with tea!)

          Now that the leaves have infused the oil, you are ready to strain out the leaves. Place your wire strainer over a glass bowl. Line the strainer with a few large coffee filters or a piece of cheesecloth. Pour the oil into the strainer. The oil strain through the filter into the bowl. The oil will be green from the plantain. Once all of the oil has strained into the bowl, throw the old leaves in the trash. The oil will still be hot. Pour the oil into your small jars. Put 2 or 3 TB of grated beeswax into each jar. As the oil cools, the beeswax will help the oil to become a thick salve with a consistency like vaseline. If the cooled salve is not thick enough, warm it in the microwave to liquify and then add more beeswax.

          Plantain salve makes a wonderful bug bite medicine. We have used it on all sorts of bites including mosquitoes, ants, and wasps. The salve is also great for diaper rash. Because this salve is so gentle, you can feel comfortable using it on all sorts of skin irritations like scraps, cuts, rashes, etc.

          This recipe is a little expensive at first, but I have made it several times and only bought beeswax once. I get olive oil when it goes BOGO and the price of the plantain leaves is very reasonable. When you consider how many products this salve replaces, it is a great value.

  • Rebecca Kipe says:

    I have just started making my own yogurt and it’s great!! My kids eat it by the gallons, so I thought I’d give it a try to save money…the cost is the cost of a gallon of milk. However I discovered I LOVE the taste of homemade yogurt far more than store-bought…I’m definitely hooked! Also, I’ve been making the 5 minute artisan bread for the past couple months and that’s all we use for bread…you won’t be disappointed!

  • Great post…I love your DIY list and totally agree that there is something very satisfying about using something you’ve made yourself. As a SAHM on a very tight budget, it is simply a necessity for me to DIY as much as possible. There are some weeks I just don’t feel like it and some weeks that I find a super sale + coupon on something I normally make, but most of the time I’m making everything I can from scratch.

    When it comes to hamburger buns, we don’t use them often, but I still make them from scratch. I have a bread machine to do the hard work for me, and it doesn’t take that long to make them. For me, it’s more a matter of that I KNOW what I’m putting in those buns…and since I’m trying very hard to follow a ‘real’ food lifestyle, that wins out over $1 buns at the Dollar Tree…99% of the time!

    I’m going to try the technique you show on forming them, I always make little balls and flatten them and get varying shapes and sizes. You might consider trying a very sharp biscuit cutter – I know when making homemade biscuits, you need a sharp edge to get good rise (I always use a nice, sharp Cutco knife and cut them in squares, super fast!)…a dull edge, like on a glass (that’s how my mom did it though!), pinches the dough down on the side and they can’t rise as high. I wonder if it would be the same for the buns?

    Looking forward to your other DIY projects, particularly the soap!

  • Chris says:

    I am very frugal but some things to me are more important than saving money, such as the ingredients in homemade versus bought, etc., also laundry soap.

    • Chris says:

      What I mean is, I think homemade laundry soap is better than bought. I prefer making it to buying it, even though I might be spending more $.

  • Catherine says:

    We used English muffins in a pinch one time when we were out of buns and haven’t gone back since. If you lightly toast them they are just hard enough that they don’t get soggy, even with fresh summer tomato juice dripping on them. You can make those yourself as well or just get them cheap and freeze until needed.

  • Jenni says:

    Okay, so my most ambitious “do-it-yourself” sewing project recently was making washable pull-ups. We are due to have baby #3 next week, and with the oldest still only 3 and having regular bed-wetting accidents and our 18 month old still in diapers, suddenly the diaper line item in the budget (with a newborn) was looking huge even with all of the couponing and Amazon deals we could get. We switched to cloth for the 18 month-old and I began researching different patterns for trainers/pull-ups and got the material, etc. They work I would say about 70% of the time, and while I’m still tweaking some things, I think that they are just about as effective as regular Pull-ups. Plus, our Pull-ups were leaking about the same rate (and sometimes exploding all of their gel beads when our 3 y.o. would climb into his brother’s crib before we got up – yuck!), so I think we will stick with it.

    • Amy says:

      I have found with potty training (I’ve done it 3 times) the pull ups don’t work you just have to decided if its time and go to underwear except at night and then yes I would use a pull up for a few months. I tried using rubber pants over the underwear but my children never liked them, so when trying the underwear the first few weeks we stayed in a room with tile most of the time or if it was summer time spent a lot of time outside. I would set a timer too and when it went off we took a potty break (30-45min). Hope this Helps and good luck!

      • Jenni says:

        Yes, we pretty much use only underwear during the day, but our son is a heavy bedwetter, so we still like to have some protection at night. I sometimes end up doing some laundry anyway, but not as much (blankets, toys, etc. on top of sheets) as I would if there were no protection at all. We do need to be more on the ball though when it comes to limiting drinks before a certain hour at bedtime, and I’ve also heard of some people waking up their kids before they (the adults) go to bed themselves to go one more time.

      • Jenni says:

        Oh, but I was also going to say, I totally did the “tile only” training, especially given that we are renters in a duplex that is mostly carpeted! I thought I would never get out of our kitchen, and was so thankful that it had a decent amount of space in it!

  • Teresa says:

    YOu have to try “V’s Hamburger buns ” recipe. I think I found it on the cottage homestead blog. They were soooo easy, you hand roll them. They were fantastic. The best recipe I have used yet. The only change I would make is to break them down into 16 buns instead of 12. They were big!

  • Tenille says:

    I make my hamburger, hotdog, and hoagies all homemade. The recipe I use is from We love it! Depending on what we are having, I just pull the dough into that shape. I don’t worry about them looking store bought, they are light, fluffy and delicious which is really all we care about. The recipe makes enough for a mix of 8 hamburger and 8 hot dog buns at a time. Love it!

  • When you make your homemade laundry detergent can you please comment on if you can use it in a front loading machine and where you buy the ingredients?
    I also agree with some one elses post, bump up the artisan bread recipe, it is great, I did a short post on it a few weeks ago.

  • Teresa says:

    I was wrong about where I had found the hamburger buns recipe. It was on the FARMING ON FAITH BLOGSPOT. com. This recipe rises quickly. Her tutorial is easy to follow with pictures abounding.

    My kids cut the buns into slices the next morning and made toast with these buns and put cinn/sugar on them. Very good.

  • Larissa says:

    Not sure what kind of laundry soap you are going to make, but I love the powder! I have never tried the liquid, but it seems to take a lot more time to make. I just mix borax, washing (not baking) soda, and bar soap that I cut in chunks and then run through a salad shooter to grate. Then I put it in a gallon ice cream pail and add 2T. to each load. I do use Dove Fresh Burst soap because I love the smell and it works great for my daughter’s sensitive skin. It’s more expensive, but still much cheaper than the Tide detergent I use to have to purchase for sensitive skin!

  • We recently made our own Healthy(er) Homemade Chocolate Syrup

    It is delicious! I made another batch for my husband using carob powder and it turned out good as well.

  • anonymous says:

    I have made homemade apple butter in the past as well as homemade catsup. Both are absolutely delicious. They would only be a cost-saver, though, if you have access to lots of cheap apples/tomatoes because both recipes use an awful lot of both. Taste much better than store-bought, though.

  • Shay says:

    In regards to the homemade dish detergent – I like the idea that someone mentioned about substituing kool aid for the citric acid. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of citric acid so how many packs of lemonade kool aid would that be? When using the mixture, would you just fill up both the ‘cups’ on your dishwasher (one closes for heavy loads, one is open for normal loads) or is there a specific amount you recommend per use? Thanks for the info! I’m excited to try this new dish detergent.

    • It would be 10 packs of lemon kool aid for this recipe. Be sure it is lemon…or your dishes will end up red:)
      Less is more with this recipe…..about 1 tsp-1 scant tbsp per load total will do just fine! Too much leaves some build up.

  • Jen says:

    Homemade hummus is easy – and particularily cheap when you start from dried chickpeas (I find it for $1.25/lb at walgreens or about the same at indian stores). For saving money, make sure you buy the tahini at an indian store – otherwise you’ll pay about twice as much! While I haven’t managed to get the perfect consistency (I suspect it has to do with me not being willing to use 1/4 cup or more of olive oil), it’s very yummy, cheap and easy. Mix the chickpeas with tahini (i’d be shocked if I used as much as your recipe!), salt, lemon juice, olive oil – and I always add garlic powder. Puree in food processor. Done. Yummy – both little kids love it too!

    Good luck – you’ll love it and never go back to store bought (at least for the price!)

  • Sabrina says:

    I’m so happy you are doing the 1 do-it-yourself idea! It’s inspired me to try and do a little more. I’m hoping it will help me save money, and make me feel just a little more…accomplished?

    I thought about “following” you and making the things you are making in the same month, because you already have a plan, but instead I skipped ahead and went with the hummus already It was amazing!

    I have never cooked garbanzo beans, only got them from cans before. Fresh cooked are amazing, and my son will eat them plain! Anyway, the hummus was great too, way better than store bought. I didn’t use tahini, I roasted some red peppers with sesame seeds and purreed that instead. I am definitely going to be doing this on on a regular basis. My 2 year old loves dipping stuff, and he loved the hummus!

  • One homeschool day we were inspired by George Washington Carver, so on a whim, we decided to make our own peanut butter. I video taped the kids doing it, like a “cooking show” if you have kids it’s a fun one for them to watch (especially the little peanut butter dance at the end.

  • Jamie says:

    I noticed that your next experiment involves making your own laundry soap. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it works great. In case you don’t have a recipe that you have decided to use, I have one at this link (near the bottom of the cleaners list).

  • Amy says:

    I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about a year now and I LOVE it. This is from the Duggar family website. I use Zote laundry soap instead of Fels-Naptha. It works better in my opinion. I found it recently for under $1 a bar at Big Lots. Melt the soap in more than 4 cups of water or it won’t dissolve completely. The zote bar is really big. It’s all going in the 5 gallon bucket so it doesn’t matter how much water you use……. You end up with 10 gallons of laundry soap for around $2. It works really well……….

    Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

    4 Cups – hot tap water
    1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
    1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
    ½ Cup Borax

    – Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

    -Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

    -Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

    -Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

    -Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

    -Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

    -Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

    *Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate!!

  • Rachel says:

    I think your hamburger buns look great! I agree I don’t know if it really saves money, but it would be a fun thing to try anyway.

  • Rachael Waller says:

    I find that my homemade buns (my grandma’s secret recipe–sorry!) freeze so well that they are almost more convenient than store bought ones that may taste o.k. the first day, but are not so good later or when frozen.

  • Jana says:

    I’m looking forward to the laundry detergent experiment… I have been using soap nuts for several months now.
    As for breads, I have been making a lot from scratch lately… bagels, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, English muffins, etc. There is something about the smell of dough rising that calms the soul!
    I have not tried hamburger buns yet, but you have motivated me to give it a try!

  • I make homemade buns all the time and I think they’re a lot better than the sugary-soft ones from the store! It’s quick and easy and a batch makes enough for two meals, so I only have to make them once a month. Here’s my recipe:
    Oh- no rolling and cutting needed- just make into balls and flatten some!

  • SouthDakota says:

    I noticed the instructions for the homade hummus direct you to use a food processor… I have made a recipe almost identicle to this using the food processor and also mashing it by hand… and will say that the by hand method is 100% better than the food processor. Doing it by hand keeps all of the flavors, and especially brings out the taste of the garlic, where the food processor method leaves you with a very thin and somewhat bland tasting hummus! 🙂

  • CupcakeLiz says:

    I can’t wait for you to try the homemade laundry soap again! I do it all the time!!! 🙂 If you need an easy ‘recipe’ email me (cupcakeliz09(at)gmail(dot)com)!!

    • CupcakeLiz says:

      LOL..I’m so excited I didn’t even finish my comment! lol..makes a 5gal bucket full of concentrate, only takes 3 ingredients, and you just mix it 1:1 with water for use! I love it when I get people to try homemade anything…especially the laundry soap, b/c it’s such a money saver!! Less than a penny per load!!!!!!

      • Jamie Stone says:

        I am also excited because I have been doing this for years as well. And you are right, pennies per load. Glad to see someone is going to share the secret on how to save a lot of money. It is so simple to make.

  • Leah says:

    Okay, I rarely leave comments, but I logged on just to leave a comment about 5 minute artisan bread, and I see there are already a few! If you can’t tell, those of us who have discovered the 5 minute bread are bursting with excitement!
    I see the other commenters recommended using the 5 minute-way for your hamburger buns, but I had seen you have ” 5 minute artisan bread” for November, and was going to try to convince you to move that one up to April! Switch for something else, so that after you figure that one out, you can enjoy all kinds of home made fast easy bread throughout the spring and summer while you try the other homemade ideas . (I use it for pizza all the time now-my family loves it!) And after you’ve practiced all summer, you’ll be ready to try a few of the more involved but almost as quick recipes for the holidays too. You won’t regret it! 🙂

  • I can’t wait to try the homemade buns recipe!

    Here is my version of Olive Garden Breadsticks. Yummy!

  • julie says:

    Looking ahead at what you have planned for future homemade items I just wanted to let you know I make homemade apple butter every fall and its so easy and good I never want to go back to store bought. I use drop apples (a tart apple is best). Cut out the bad spots after washing thoroughly but don’t worry about seeding or peeling. Cook until soft, put through a Foley Food mill and add sugar to suit your taste. In short, I make applesauce. Then fill your crock pot with the applesauce and cook overnight stirring whenever. It will cook down and darken. Cook to the thickness you like, put in jars and freeze. MMMMMM

  • Jamie Stone says:

    I noticed that you will be making your own laundry detergent next month. I have been doing this for years and I LOVE IT. Our clothes last longer. My son has the cleanest uniform on the entire baseball team. I only spend about $10.00 a year where I used to spend $10.00 a month. Good luck with it and I can not wait to see the comments on it and also your recipe.

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