It may shock you to know that I don’t personally bake everything that I eat or serve at my house. Sometimes I don’t have time, bandwidth, or expertise to tackle a baking project; or someone else just does something better. And while I have my fabulous local artisanal bakeries for some of my baked goods purchasing, I also have in my back pocket one of the more surprising and lesser known secret weapons.
The Costco bakery.
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While normally, a low-carb woman like me who lives in a household of two would eschew the bakery department at a place where everything is either enormous or sold in bulk, there are certain things that the Costco bakery is just great for, and I do not hesitate to take advantage. Here are my five top insider bakery secrets.
1. Look in the freezer aisle instead of the bakery section.
Many of the in-store bakery items are available in the frozen section for a fraction of the price. Which means that breads, pastries, and cookies can really be a terrific thing to buy frozen, especially if you are in a small household and likely to freeze most of what you are buying anyway.
2. Order ahead.
If you have ever headed to the bakery section to find that they are out of the one thing you went there to buy, or if you need an item in bulk, like cookies or bagels for a big gathering, it is always best to call a day in advance to ensure that they have what you need when you get there.
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3. Order unbaked items for a fraction of the price.
Yep, you can request packages of bread dough, and boxes of UNBAKED cookies and other pastries, and they will usually be about half the price of the baked items. These raw items can often be frozen for future baking projects: Think fresh croissants on a Sunday morning, dinner rolls on a weeknight, or semi-homemade pizza with whatever toppings you choose.
4. Buy bread as an ingredient.
Think that two-loaf package is too much? Not when there is bread pudding in the offing. Homemade croutons, breadcrumbs, and stuffing even when it isn’t Thanksgiving, all are made much easier and more affordable when you start with Costco bread.
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5. Have kids? Get them a free cookie!
While Costco is known for its sampling, the bakery is extra generous. If you are shopping with your little ones, head over and ask if they are doing cookies for the kids. Usually you can get a whole sugar or chocolate chip cookie for each child, and sometimes if you are lucky, they might hand you one too, with a wink. It isn’t a guarantee—the cookies have to be available and unpackaged in the back—but it is worth an ask!
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