The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Costco Kirkland and other discount sources for baking ingredients??

tabasco's picture
tabasco

Costco Kirkland and other discount sources for baking ingredients??

Hi, TFLers,


It's autumn again and my thoughts have turned to baking baking baking.  But I looked at my grocery and KAF bills and could not believe how much I have spent on butter alone in the past several weeks, much less the other pricey stuff. 


So, I decided I had to find a good more economical source for some of the products I use~~


1. potato flour


2. baker's dried milk


3. vanilla


4. other flours


5. european style butters (and what about Kirkland butter~~any good?)


and other stuff (who knows anything about the Kirkland brands at Costco?)


I'd like to know where others shop for their ingredients and if they have found a good source for an enthusiastic home baker who doesn't want huge quantities, but maybe more than KAF offers in their catalog (and better prices, too).


Pleases tell us what you do?!


 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

As far as KA flour, WalMart prices are very good.

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

Costco seems to have all kinds of dried fruit at tremendous savings. I buy their unsalted butter, too.  No complaints.  Pam

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

CostCo carries a durum flour called "Mumbai Gold" but I haven't used that. Another member here mentioned buying some so perhaps they'll add their experience to conversation. I've used the Eagle Mills All Purpose w/ Ultra Grain that sells for around $6/ 20#. It's not bad but not great by any means other than price. Their other flours, an AP and a bread flour are both bleached and bromated. All their flours are produced by Conagra.


They do carry Red Star Active Dry Yeast at $3.69/2#. At that price, you can afford to buy an airtight container to use for storage of your yeast in the freezer. I've had mine in the freezer for over a year now and it still works well.


CostCo's prices on Pam spray oil and for their store brand EVOO are very good as is the price for Agave sweetener. I have seen some parchment paper at one time but haven't seen it for about four months. The plastic wrap is also a very good buy if you use it around the house.

Susan Lynn's picture
Susan Lynn

I'm commenting from the perspective of Costco in Canada, Vancouver Island to be specific, but I really like Kirkland cinnamon, pecans and other fruit and nuts for quality and price. Yeast is way cheaper, but in a 1 kg package and only regular active dry, not instant ... but it can always be frozen if necessary. Flour is cheap ... depends on where you are, what's available. I didn't buy vanilla, but it seemed a good price for a smaller amount. (I was buying by the jug.) In fact, I didn't try any Kirkland product I didn't like. But, you have to know prices. Costco isn't the best for everything, just as any other store. For example, the best source for instant yeast in a larger quantity has always been health or whole-food stores, rather than our local discount supermarket ... by several dollars. 

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Susan,


I'm an Islander as well and have found instant yeast in the bulk section of SaveOn . Can't imagine it's any more expensive than a smaller retailer. In terms of quality it would likely be the same...but how it's stored and how often the stock in the bin is rotated has always been my concern. In the baking aisle they have 454grm vacuum sealed bags of Fermipan Instant for ..I don't know.. $6-$7.. ? 


Franko

krisnr's picture
krisnr

I have been trying to figure out why my latest batches of cookies (multiple tried and true favorites) have been dry and crumbly in just a few days-- and have wondered if it was due to Kirkland butter. I will be experimenting in the next few weeks-- and will try to remember to get back to you with any new thoughts. Otherwise, I have been satisfied with many other Costco/Kirkland baking products. Chowhound had a butter thread from a couple of years ago that favored Land O' Lakes, Plugra and Trader Joe's.  

bnom's picture
bnom

You don't say where you're located so it's hard to direct you.  But if you have a cash-n-carry or other similar restaurant supply store open to the public, you can find good prices on flours there. I'm in Seattle and buy Pendleton Morbread flour and Bob's Red Mill rye there at a great price.  I'm a big fan of costco for nuts and other items (I just bought a big bag of ground flax there) but haven't found flours that interest me.  I used to buy plugra but the price doubled so I started buying unsalted butter from costco.  It's not as good but I cook with it fine.  I only use butter in baked goods and haven't notice  diminished quality.

G-man's picture
G-man

I live in Seattle as well, but I had always heard Cash-n-Carry was merchant wholesale only. Is this not true?

bnom's picture
bnom

It's open to the public.  I shop there frequently.  Another greaat store for baking supplies (as well as cheeses, spices, and Mediterranean foods) is Pacific Food Importers (aka PFI) which is located on 6th just south of Dearborn.  They have Italian 00 flour right now.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Cash-n-Carry here (Portland, OR) has great deals on flour and yeast.  I've just been thinking that I need to head there soon to get another bag of Pendleton Mills Morbread since serious baking season is starting up.  And, yes, Cash-n-Carry is open to the public.

bnom's picture
bnom

I went shopping there today and purchased some Darigold Chef's Choice butter -- it's apparently a European style butter with high butterfat very similar to Plugra.  And it was only 2.84/lb.  


BTW, the 50 lb sack of Morbread (a 12% protein flour) was just $17.  

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I'm continually impressed with the quality of the Kirkland products.  I also own a ton of the Mumbai Gold durum flour.  It's very good.  Local Costcos around here don't seem to carry yeast.  I wish they did.


FF 

jackew's picture
jackew

If you live near Amish communites ( Pennsyvania, Ohio, Indiana, etc.) they have a large number of bulk stores that carry a complete inventory of baking supplies. Every type of flour, Hi Gluten flour runs .42 cents a pound.

EvaB's picture
EvaB

Xmas baking fruit at either the Savon Foods bulk or at the local wholesale outlet, which will take orders from anyone, its cheaper if you have a business liscense I suppose, but in any case its cheaper than the local store shelves.


The only problem is its limited in selection of many things, but I can buy butter there, and other dairy products, and do. I buy the butter portions for my home use, these keep better than butter in a butter dish, and being portioned into little dishes keeps the butter waste from crumbs etc down a whole lot.


I have also bought other things there, like aprons (nice white ones with long ties) and a bench scraper for under $5, which anyplace else was over $15, so its worthwhile to investigate whether or not you can buy from them.


I think they will sell to anyone, but if you want to buy in huge quanties, you have to have a buisness liscence, in order to be legal if reselling.


You can also buy things like paper bags, plastic shopping bags, and things for putting goods into, like clear clamshell containers etc.


Its also a good source for canned goods at usuallly cheaper prices than the store shelves. And of course flour and baking powder and .... who knows what your store might have.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I buy some things in the bulk bins at Whole foods and they are actually inexpensive that way.  They have potato flakes--you can turn that into potato flour in your food processor.  I buy vital wheat gluten, a lot of whole grain flours, various grains that go into breads like coarse cornmeal, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, etc, and coarse salt from their bulk bins as well.  I like that I can buy just the amount I need so I don't have to have a pantry of 30 different flours that go bad before they are used up.  I've never had an issue with freshness from the WF bins. 


I always think of Whole Foods as "whole paycheck" but it's very reasonable when you buy their bulk products.  And, their 365 Brand items are very reasonable as well.  I find their  bread flour and white whole wheat as good as King Aurthur and about $2 less per 5  pounds.  Trader Joe's also has nice white and white whole wheat, but they are often out of stock.


Honey is nicely priced at Trader Joe's, as well as canola and olive oils.  I'm sure Costco has big containers,  don't like to buy too much honey at once because it crystalizes.  I don't buy large quantities because I don't have much storage room or freezer space.  My husband already complains about how much room my bread ingredients take in our pantry cabinet. 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

figure out more storage space for you. I'm not waiting, I had a coat closet turned into a space for my larger items, like my roasters, my big crock pots, and my huge bowls, all of which I do use, just not everyday! So they needed someplace to live. The closet was beside a door that isn't used, so that worked for me, the broom closet in the hall turned into storage for some of my baking stuff, some other items of kitchenware, and some canned goods. The cupboards in my kitchen are rather useless in comparison to my old kitchen, and I am hoping to replace them in the next couple of years, and to add to them, by turning a wall in the dining room into cupboards. The space is useless otherwise, as the deck door is directly across from the kitchen to dining access, so you can't set the table there, it has to go on the larger side of the room, which is open plan to the living room, so I plant to turn it into space I can actually use!


I agree that the bulk bins are wonderful, if you have ones that actually have a selection, the ones here in town are mostly candy, and pasta, and fruit drink etc, no real baking supplies except for chocolate chunks for candy making. A bit thin, to get a decent selection I have to drive 80 miles to the next town in the next province so its an all day trip and I always come back with tons of stuff to store, as that is where the Costco is too!

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

EvaB's picture
EvaB

that is great, and the only thing I ask is do you ship to Canada?


I think its great that you are doing so well, and have a nice product line, the bench scraper is identical to the ones the cash and carry here has, and the same price. I couldn't belive it when looking in their catalogue and finding them, as I had been pricing them all over the net, at over $15 plus shipping and with ugly plastic handles. I like wood!


The fact that you have some of the 00 flours and the semolina and durahm at reasonable prices is nice too, as long as the shipping wouldn't kill me! I know you can use flat rate boxes from the post office because I have gotten some oils from the company in the states that handles them (essential oils not cooking) and its much cheaper shipping than the fed ex which won't deliver here, as I have no city address to drop it off at. $60 dollars cheaper to be exact, which is a lot when you are doing exchange on US dollars even at 5 cents a dollar.


 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

since it's not appropriate to discuss business here

ronhol's picture
ronhol

I too have not found a Kirkland product I don't like.


I tried the Eagle brand unbleached flour, but don't care for it, because of the whole wheat flavor.


But otherwise, we love shopping there for certain items.


As others have already said, not everything is cheaper, nor worth buying in bulk, but there are certainly bargains to be had.


I just bought a small camp oven/stove for our emergency supplies. Runs on propane, has 2 burners and a small oven.


We are attempting to have a 2-3 month supply of food in case of emergency, or financial meltdown. A real concern in America, the question being, not if, but when.


Costco also has quite a selection of freeze dried long term storage emergency foods, although they rarely stock them in the stores, just go to their online store.


Our local stores carry very little in the way of flour, so I go to Amish country for mine.


I just picked up a 50 pound bag Friday for $15.00.


We also belong to BJ's Wholesale, and Sams, so we find different deals at each store.


No Whole Foods around here, you folks are lucky.

tabasco's picture
tabasco

Thanks for the tips, everyone.


Didn't think of Whole Foods bulk bins as a source, but that makes so much sense!


Will try Trader Joe's for some Plugras butter at good prices. I haven't shopped there much since the original owners sold it a number of years ago. 


I did go to Costco this week and to buy the pecans (excellent), liquid vanilla, red star yeast, brown eggs, 10 lbs cane sugar and unsalted butter.  All seemed to be at excellent prices. I am curious to try the butter and compare with Plugras or Lurpak. 


I would like to find a source for Lurpak or another really nice butter for cheap $$ but that's likely impossible!  Costco does sell Kerry Gold butter, but I read in a review that that brand was not especially tasty for baking.


I have not tried Amish Roll Butter for baking in recent years.  I understand the butter quality can be variable and sometimes it seems very salty.  Anyone else try their butter?  We live fairly close to an Amish community and I must make a trip out there to check out their bulk items.  (I have not found their typical baked goods of very high quality though. )


I wonder why high fat content butter is not produced by the likes of Land o Lakes for a reasonable price.  It seems like that would be a no -brainer for them!?


I loved looking thru the New York Bakers site (link provided above from Stan).  They offer almost everything an advanced or beginner bread, pizza or pastry baker would want, including the European flours.  I liked their combination packs of flours for very good prices. 


By the way, I have found Aldi's an excellent source for chocolate at very attractive prices.  Also Marzipan.  Aldi's "Moser Roth" chocolate has won all kinds of awards and comes in several different percentages.  They have other kinds of good chocolate for very good prices as well.  I have not tried their flours or other baking products.  Has anyone?


I still haven't put my hands on a source for that Baker's Dry Milk.  I bought a small package of it from KAF and it has made a huge difference in my bread and hamburger buns, but it goes fast at a quarter cup per loaf or so.  Any idea where that can be found at retail stores??


Again thanks for all the tips and comments. 


Happy baking,   J.


 


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I have only seen bleached AP and bleached SR(self rise) flours at Aldi's. Their Spice Club pure vanilla is $2 for a 2 oz bottle. Their canned evaporated and condensed milk is considerably cheaper than other store brands.


However, their non fat dry milk(not baker's) is no cheaper than other large chain's. Plus, it only comes in bulk box. I often find the boxes of foil enveloped dry milk on sale at Walmart and Kroger for cheaper(by the oz).