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Complete Cost Breakdown: Is Making Your Own Bread Cheaper?

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In this article, I want to fully explore the full facts and provide you with true figures on how much it actually costs to make your own bread at home. Including a breakdown of ingredient costs (of varying quality) and how much it costs to bake a loaf of bread in an oven.

I know how much most things cost when it comes to bread making, but I’ve never actually broken down all of the costs to work out exactly what a homemade loaf costs.

I’m interested to know, what you get in the shops for the same price as a homemade loaf using quality ingredients and what is the absolute cheapest loaf you can make and how does that compare to the cheapest bread you can buy.

We all know that homemade bread tastes nicer, but is it actually cheaper to make your own bread or should you just stick to shop-bought?

For the purpose of this article, I’m using UK prices, if you’re not based in the UK it still may be helpful to read to see how you can work out the costs in your local currency.

I’m also going to assume anyone baking a homemade loaf already has very basic baking equipment which is sufficient to bake a loaf, such as a baking tray or bread tin and a large mixing bowl.

So let’s begin!


The Cost of Bread Ingredients Per Loaf

To work out the cost of each ingredient per loaf I’m going to base it on the following simple bread recipe which will produce a large loaf:

  • 500g white, brown or speciality strong bread flour
  • 7g dried yeast (15g fresh yeast)
  • 10g salt
  • 320ml water
  • 30g butter/oil/or lard

I’m going to start with varying levels of bread flour brands and supermarket own brands divided up into flour types, so you can find your favourite flour price in the tables below:

**At the time of writing bread flour is still limited in availability following lockdown, the flour below prices listed below are based on what is currently available and I’ve included where you can buy to save you time**

Strong white bread flour prices

BrandTypeTotal price in £Packet
weight
Price per
loaf (500g) in £
(rounded to
nearest 1p)
Lidl
(Belbake)
Basic strong
white flour
0.551.5kg0.18
TescoBasic strong
white flour
0.801.5kg26.7
TescoVery strong
Canadian flour
1.251kg0.63
TescoOrganic strong
white
1.351kg0.68
SainsburysBasic strong
white unbleached
bread flour
1.051.5kg0.35
SainsburysTaste the difference
very strong
Canadian bread
flour
1.101kg0.55
WaitroseEssential strong
white bread flour
1.201.5kg0.40
WaitroseCanadian & very
strong white bread
flour
1.801.5kg0.60
M&S at
Ocado
Organic strong white
bread flour
1.901.5kg0.63
M&S at
Ocado
Canadian
very strong white
bread flour
1.801.5kg0.60
OcadoStrong white
bread flour
1.101.5kg0.55
Allinson
Basic strong
white flour
2.00
(Tesco)
1.5kg0.67
Doves FarmOrganic strong white
flour
2.00
(Sainsburys)
1.5kg0.67
MarriagesFinest strong white
bread flour
1.90
(Ocado)
1.5kg0.64
HeygatesStrong white bread
flour
20.95
(Amazon)
16kg0.65
MarriagesVery strong white
Canadian bread flour
17.95
(Amazon)
5X1.5kg
=7.5kg
1.20
Wessex MillStrong white bread
flour
19.99
(Amazon)
5X1.5kg
=7.5kg
1.33
Mathews
Cotswold
flour
Strong white bread
flour
2.00
(Tesco)
1.5kg0.67

Strong wholemeal bread flour prices

BrandTypeTotal price in £Packet
weight
Price per
loaf (500g) in £
(rounded to
nearest 1p)
SainsburysTaste the difference
wholegrain seeded
flour
1.101kg0.55
WaitroseEssential strong brown
bread flour
1.001.5kg0.33
M&S OcadoCanadian
very strong wholemeal
bread flour
1.801.5kg0.6
Doves Farm
Organic strong
wholemeal bread flour
2.19
(Ocado)
1.5kg0.73
Allinson
Very strong
wholemeal
2.00
(Tesco)
1.5kg0.67
MarriagesStoneground strong
wholemeal bread flour
1.85
(Ocado)
1.5kg0.62
MarriagesOrganic stoneground strong
wholemeal bread flour
1.59
(Ocado)
1kg0.80
HeygatesCanadian & springs strong
wholemeal flour
22.98
(Amazon)
16kg0.72

Speciality bread flour prices

BrandTypeTotal price in £Packet
weight
Price per
loaf (500g) in £
(rounded to
nearest 1p)
M&S at OcadoSeeded and malted
bread flour
2.001.5kg0.67
Allinson
Country grain1.50
(Tesco)
1kg0.75
HovisMalted brown
Granary flour
2.00
(Tesco)
1kg1.00
Doves FarmOrganic
wholemeal
Spelt flour
2.50
(Tesco)
1kg1.25
Doves FarmOrganic white
Spelt flour
3.00
(Tesco)
1kg1.50
Doves FarmOrganic white
rye flour
2.00
(Tesco)
1kg1.00
Doves FarmOrganic rye
flour
2.00
(Tesco)
1kg1.00
Doves FarmMalthouse bread
flour
2.00
(Waitrose)
1kg1.00
Sharpham Park
wholegrain
Spelt flour
3.45
(Waitrose)
1kg1.73
MarriagesGolden wholegrain
bread flour
1.591kg0.80

Important Info About Choosing a Bread Flour

Although it’s good to get a bargain, when it comes to bread flour, cheap is not always the best. Here are some important things to consider when choosing bread flour:

  • Protein levels – bread flour protein levels vary and will start at anywhere from 12%, the higher the protein level the more gluten will develop creating a stronger dough.
  • Additives – by law, white bread flour should contain certain nutrients, including calcium, iron and vitamins B1 and B3 (or thiamine and niacin). Beware of anything else such as bleaching agents.

Read on to find out the cost of other ingredients used in bread.

Cost of yeast

BrandTypeTotal costWeight soldPrice per 7g (dried)
per 15g (fresh)
(unless otherwise
stated)
rounded to
nearest 1p
Alinson’sEasybake
sachets
1.00
(Ocado)
6 x 7g0.17
McDougalls
Fast action dried
yeast sachets
0.99
(Ocado)
8 x 7g0.12
Doves FarmQuick yeast1.25
(Ocado)
125g0.07
KronjastFresh yeast2.00
(Ocado)
4 x 50g0.15
TescoFast action dried
yeast sachets
0.858 x 7g0.11
Allinson’sTime saver yeast
sachets
0.52 x 11g0.25 (per 11g as
directed)
Allinson’sDried active
baking yeast (tin)
1.00125g0.06
SainsburysFast action dried yeast
sachets
0.908 x 7g0.11
Allinson’sEasybake yeast (tin)1.10100g0.08
BiorealOrganic Fresh Yeast1.20 plus 1.20
postage
2.40
(Bakery bits)
Per 42g (you
can buy
more for same
postage)
0.86 (reducing in
volume)
Image of dried and fresh yeast products

Cost of added fat (optional)

Some bread recipes include fat such as olive oil, butter and lard, the table below gives an average price of each:

Fat typeAverage supermarket
own brand price per 100g
Average supermarket
own brand price per 30g
rounded to nearest 1p
Butter0.60 (based on 1.50 per pack)0.20
Olive oil0.700.21
Lard0.200.06

Cost of added milk (optional)

Average milk price (based on a 4-pint pack of supermarket milk) per 100ml
0.05

Cost of salt

Based on standard table salt cost per 10g
0.01 (rounding up and being very generous)

Electricity cost to bake a loaf of bread

I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about watts or kilowatts, but thanks to the NPower website, I’ve found out that the average oven costs around 14p per hour to run. This is an average figure and it really depends on how energy efficient your oven is and how much your energy provider charges per unit of electricity.

It doesn’t state at what temperature and bread does bake at a higher temperature, so to be on the safe side I’m assuming:

Cost per loaf based on a cooking time of around half an hour
0.08

So, is it cheaper to make your own bread?

We now have all the figures to work out how much it costs to make a loaf of bread, based on various brands and budgets.

Below is an example of how you can use the figures to work out the cost of homemade bread based on your recipe (assuming water is free) for this example I’m using the recipe at the top of this page:

Ingredient/
budget
500g flourPriceYeastPriceSaltButterpowerTotal cost
per loaf
CheapestLidl Belbake
strong
white
bread flour
0.18Allinsons
dried
active
0.060.010.200.080.53
Good mid-
range
Matthews
Cotswold
white bread
flour
0.67Allinsons
dried
active
0.060.010.200.081.02
Good mid-
range
Marriages
Stoneground
wholemeal
bread flour
0.62Tesco
Dried
fast-
acting
0.110.010.200.081.02
Higher endDoves Farm
Organic
White Spelt
flour
1.50Tesco
Dried
fast-
acting
0.110.010.200.081.90

This tells us that yes, it is cheaper to make your own bread, especially when you look at what you can produce at home in relation to what you can buy in the shops. It is possible to make a large crusty flavoursome loaf at home for as little as 33p using basic bread-making ingredients.

The only cost equivalents which available to buy are the most basic and poor quality supermarket loaves, which cannot be compared to what you can make for the same cost. Most basic supermarket own-brand loaves cost around 50p per loaf.

The downside of making your own bread is the time it takes, but this is only a downside if you view it in that way, bread-making can be a relaxing and cheap hobby which is also very rewarding.

When I make a loaf of bread, my family can’t get enough and it’s usually all gone that same day and the best thing is, I know exactly what’s gone into it.

TIP: Not sure if you have all the necessary bread baking equipment at home? Check out my recommended picks below (Amazon links):

Making bread using Belbake flour from Lidl – the results

I made a loaf using the cheapest ingredients I could buy at the time, these ingredients included:

  • Lidl strong white bread flour
  • Allinson’s dried active yeast
  • Butter
  • Basic table salt
  • Tap water

The ingredient cost for this loaf was 53p, and I could have made it cheaper again by leaving out the butter which means I could have made this loaf for 33p – but I just like to use a bit of butter for texture and because it makes the loaf stay fresher for longer.

The image below shows the ingredients used and the final loaf.

There are a few things to be aware of when you’re using a budget flour such as this one. While it’s good that you can make a homemade loaf for as little as 33p, I probably wouldn’t recommend this flour to use for baking.

The final outcome was ok, but just ok, it tasted good, but I had to put quite a bit of work into getting this result and it didn’t work anywhere near as well as my usual bread flours. Here are the reasons why I wouldn’t recommend this flour:

  • It contains less than 12% protein – a good performing bread flour contains over 12% and I wouldn’t choose less than this.
  • The lack of protein is covered up by the addition of rising agents which you won’t find in a good quality flour.
  • It took so long to get a good rise that I had to leave it in the fridge overnight – but this did help to create a really good flavour.

Because I was struggling with rise, I added steam to the oven which helped a little, so this along with the overnight rise helped with the final result. But for me, too much effort versus reward and I’d rather spend a bit extra on a higher quality flour.

Is it worth spending more on bread flour

It is worth spending more on a good brand of bread flour where you see better results for the following reasons:

  • Higher quality flours are less likely to contain additives and many use organically grown grains.
  • Good milling techniques produce higher quality flour and for wholemeal, some use traditional stoneground methods.
  • You will see better performance with most high-quality bread flours.
  • Good quality bread flour generally has a higher protein level – you can see this in the nutrients section on the pack.

One of my go-to bread flour brands for white bread flour is Matthews of Cotswold, the total cost of a loaf using this flour (with fat) is £1.02. For me, this is completely worth it because I can’t buy any bread in a shop for this price which is anywhere near this quality.

A decent similar shop-bought bread is generally around double the price to buy and some artisan bread shops charge £3 or £4 for a loaf or even more.

Other ways you can save money by baking bread at home

So we found out that making bread at home is cheaper than anything you can buy of the same quality in supermarkets. There are a few ways which you can make even more savings, these include:

  • Bake more than one loaf or bread type at a time and freeze what you don’t need, find out more about freezing and batch baking bread here.
  • Consider making sourdough using a homemade sourdough starter instead of using yeast.
  • Make bread using artisan methods in it’s purest form to save on ingredients such as fat and milk.
  • Buy bread flour in bulk or at wholesale prices – works well if you want to make a lot of bread and you have space to store the flour.

You might also like…

I hope this article will help you to work out the true cost of homemade bread, give a few flour types a try and experiment to see what results you can achieve with home baking.

You might also find the following posts helpful:

Best bread flour (available in the UK)

Bread Making Tips For Beginners –  Everything You Need to Know