It’s a fair question since we could use our time to do other productive tasks. And no one wants to waste money.
As a person who’s very conscious of how I use my time and spend my money, I decided to look deep into the cost of baking bread. It’s a joy to report that home-made bread baking can save money at the same time that it boosts our nutritional intake.
Here’s a basic mathematical evaluation of my own bread baking:
I typically buy my flour in five-pound bags.
Cost for bread flour – $5.00
Volume – approximately 17 cups.
Number of loaves it produces – 5 (using 3.3 cups flour per loaf).
Flour – $1.00
Yeast (bulk) – $.09
Sweetener – this will vary as raw honey may add significant cost; maple syrup would be less expensive, and sugar would be least expensive – $.25
Salt (Himalayan) – $.02
Milk – $.15
Total cost - $1.51
On average, you’ll have 12 good-sized slices of bread from one loaf, which equals about $.13 per slice.
This cost estimate doesn’t include the cost of baking. That cost will vary greatly and can be well-managed by baking bread at the same time that you bake other items.
Of course, you can reduce bread-baking costs by:
- Purchasing flour at a lower cost. All-purpose flour is generally less expensive than bread flour; it’s also on sale quite often.
- Searching for lowest-cost brands.
- Purchasing larger quantities of flour, such as 10- or 25-pound bags, can greatly reduce the cost of each loaf. Buying 50 pounds of unbleached white flour (which will make about 50 loaves) for as little as 44 cents per pound is a great bargain (44 centers per loaf of bread), provided you have freezer room for storing the flour.
- I prefer to use organic flours, which can add significant cost to your loaf, depending on the brand and volume of flour you purchase. In bulk, organic flour is available for under $1.00 per pound, which seems to be a very reasonable cost. Be sure you have room in your freezer to store the flour.
- Perhaps you have access to a local grower who sells whole grain by the pound, potentially reducing the cost of purchasing milled flour.
- And, of course, home-made bread is considerably cheaper per loaf than store-bought bakery loaves.
Once you’ve pared down your bread baking expenses, consider using bread to help save money in other ways, including:
- French toast as a low-cost breakfast (especially if you produce your own eggs)
- In lieu of cracker crumbs in meat loaf
- Home-made croutons
- Home-made stuffing mix, etc.
- Gifting bread can be so much fun, especially if you have someone who enjoys a custom bread, such as a multi-grain. Where else could you find such a high quality, personal gift for such a minimal cost?
- In my social circles, home-made bread is a rare commodity and a welcome feature of potluck and church gatherings, family meals, etc. Again, a very economic “dish.”
- Pairing bread – especially whole grain bread - with nut butter (e.g. peanut butter, almond butter) creates a significant and economical source of protein.
I’m certain this is just the beginning of a list of economic benefits related to home-made bread. So bake away!
Photo by Loretta Sorensen.
Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find information about her book on her blog site at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, Our Dakota Horse Tales, Pinterest and Facebook.