The economics of home baking

5 July 2007

I buy organic flour for my bread. I figure if I'm baking it should be the healthiest bread I can manage. Organic flour is cheapest when you buy in bulk. That's easily done by finding a local bulk food shop. They're all over the place but rarely advertise so you have to go searching.

Here I can buy a 5kg bag of Kialla Pure organic flour - either wholemeal, rye or white for around $10. It's cheaper again if you get a 10kg bag. A 500g pack of good quality dry yeast is $4. I also add a spoon full of salt and sugar or honey - I calculated those to cost around 5 cents per loaf. I'm saying the water is free, I know it's not but the cost is so small it's not worth adding it. Suffice to say the 5 cents for the salt and sugar will cover the water too. You'll get about 9 loaves from a 5 kg bag of flour and about 50 loaves from the pack of yeast. So that works out to be around $1.63 in ingredients. Say we add 5 cents for the amount of gas or electricity to bake the loaf and you'll get your organic loaf for $1.68. An organic sourdough or wholemeal loaf costs $5 at Woolworths.

So, for a year's worth of bread, eating five loaves a week:
HOMEMADE
$1.68 x 5/week = $8.40 a week OR $8.40 x 52 weeks = $436.80/year
BOUGHT FROM WOOLWORTHS
$5 x 5/week= $25/week OR $25 x 52 weeks = $1300/year

Which works out as being $863.20 a year more for bread if you buy it rather than make it fresh at home. That's $863.20 more just on bread alone!!

Of course there are many other reasons for baking at home - no preservatives, you are able to modify certain ingredients as you need to, it tastes better and it is the freshest bread, but I think the economic argument is a convincing one to start baking at home. And when I say home baking, I mean with a bread machine too - the same figures apply, although you'd have to factor in the cost of your bread machine. A bread machine will pay for itself in a year.

I am happy to answer any questions you might have on home baking, or any other topic for that matter. Just pop a comment in or email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.