So, I’ve been making bread for sandwiches for a few months now – enough that I’d say it’s a bona fide habit and not just a fling that was fun for awhile. (Ask me in a few months though; I do reserve the right to change – and I have bought some bread during our move!) You can find the recipe I use here – and by the way, I’ve tweaked it a bit more so it’s a little different than when I originally posted it, though not significantly so.
The other day I was curious just how much money I was saving by making my own bread. I knew it was significantly cheaper, and obviously a little healthier than the preservative-laden stuff from the store. (I started considering making my own bread when the whole wheat loaves I was buying mysteriously stopped molding like they used to. Has anyone else noticed that?)
I sat down to figure it out, using the prices I pay for the ingredients at Sam’s Club with a couple of exceptions noted below. Here’s it is:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading = $0.20
1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees) = $0.05
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast = $0.10
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour = $0.65 (purchasing Bob’s Red Mill for $2.99/5 lbs on sale at Sprouts)
2 cups milk = $0.31 (at $2.50 per gallon, which is a pretty average price)
1/4 cup honey = $0.35
4 teaspoons table salt = $0.02
6 tablespoons butter, softened = $0.56
2 tablespoons vegetable oil = $0.06
Total cost for two loaves of this bread: $2.30 or $1.15 per loaf
Now, these loaves are about 30 oz per loaf, which is slightly larger than the standard size of 24 ounce for Orowheat, which is what we would buy if I wasn’t making it. The 24 ounce loaves of Orowheat bread are regularly on sale for $2.99 (though they are more at regular price):
Orowheat Bread at $2.99 each = 12.5¢ per ounce
Homemade Bread = 3.8¢ per ounce
That’s a savings of 70% – not to mention that the bread I’m making doesn’t have any preservatives or added junk. For a totally fair comparison, I would probably need to compare the number of slices in the loaf, but then we would also need to evaluate the benefits of the homemade bread’s heel, which always gets eaten, and the storebought loaf’s heel, which I use in some way or another (hello, no waste) but really don’t love it.
And, yes, you do have to count the cost of heating up your oven; however, this is nominal at best. There is also the time factor, which is admittedly significant until you work baking homemade bread into your normal routine. But I am not going to split my own hair by factoring that into my cost – feel free to do it if you have plenty of hairs and need to split some.
So, a savings of 70% is a pretty big deal to me. We would probably go through 2-3 loaves per week, depending on the week, so if I paid $2.99 per loaf for Orowheat, I’d be spending $6-$9. When I make my own, I’m saving $4-$6 a week, which is $200-300 over the course of a year. Not too shabby, and since I like making it and we like eating it, it’s definitely worth the extra effort for me right now.
Have any of you calculated how much you save by cooking from scratch? Did you decide it was worth it or no?