Cost Comparison: Breads

Who here wants a nice slice of warm homemade bread smothered with fresh butter and jam? I know I do. Who wouldn’t?

It’s amazing to me that less than 100 years ago, eating fresh like this was the norm. Now it’s so common to buy bread, jam, and butter (or margarine) that we get super excited over the real stuff. Ironically, in César’s family, they call store-bought bread pan de plástico, or plastic bread. Gives you something to think about.

Ever wondered how much you could be saving if you made all your bread at home? Or what if it was really cheaper to buy it from the store? Here are some details to help you decide which is cheaper.I love making bread, but I rarely get around to it (maybe once every 2 months) because of all the other things I need to do. This week, though, I’ve been making bread a lot more. Boy, is César happy! He is bread’s #1 fan! If I make a meal, especially something Italian, and there is no bread in the house, that’s all he can talk about, “Where’s the bread? I can’t enjoy this delicious sauce without some lovely bread!” It’s a true crisis.

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Cost of Bread

What is the cost of bread nowadays? I’ve set out to find what is cheaper: store-bought bread or homemade bread.

Now, I know that I am one person, living in one city, buying bread from two stores, and only comparing two homemade bread recipes. It’s possible that my cost comparison is actually wrong. However, I think that it could give you some great insight.

If you want to do a cost comparison yourself, please share the results in the comments! I would love it if others joined in on the search for the cheapest option.

Let’s get to the comparison!

STORE-BOUGHT BREAD

I’ll start with the cost of the store-bought bread. I went to Walmart and WinCo since I shop at those two stores the most.

Cost Comparison: Breads (Store-Bought vs. Homemade)

Walmart

Lowest cost of the 4 breads – 11.4 cents per slice
Average cost of white bread – 13.5 cents per slice
Average cost of wheat bread – 14.3 cents per slice
Overall average cost – 13.9 cents per slice

WinCo

Lowest cost of the 4 breads – 7.5 cents per slice
Average cost of white bread – 12.7 cents per slice
Average cost of wheat bread – 9.7 cents per slice
Overall average cost – 11.2 cents per slice

The average cost for wheat at both stores was 12 cents per slice, while the average cost for white was 13.1 cents per slice.

The best prices came from WinCo, so I’m glad I buy my bread there most of the time. I’d have to do an in-depth cost comparison to really make sure that WinCo had the best prices, but I don’t have time for that.

Yearly cost per type of bread

Let’s take a look at the yearly cost for both white and wheat at both stores just to get an idea of how much a few cents can make over time:

White – $170.07 per year
Wheat – $140.52 per year

I figured that we buy about 6 loaves of bread each month. The difference you would pay over a period of one year, for only a 1.1 cent difference, would be $29.56. It’s only $2.46 per month, but if you are on a strict budget, that makes a bit of a difference.

Homemade Bread

I share a board on Pinterest with my awesome sister, and it’s dedicated just to breads. You really ought to check it out if you love making bread (or even just like looking at it!). I have made quite a few of the bread recipes on there, and the two breads I’m comparing for this post are two of my favorites. When I make bread, I normally make one of these because they are easy, foolproof, and obviously delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever failed any attempt at these two recipes.

Jenny Phillips’ Perfect Bread

(the recipe is at the bottom of the page when you click the link)

Total cost – $3.15
Cost per loaf – $1.58
Cost per slice (I got 13 pieces of bread out of it) – $0.12

American Sandwich Bread from Annie’s Eats

Total cost – $1.51
Cost per slice (I got 16 pieces of bread out of it) – $0.09

Cost Comparison: Breads (Store-Bought vs. Homemade)

As you can see from the above graph, the American Sandwich Bread is 3 cents cheaper per slice. I think there are plenty of reasons for that. First, I was able to get 16 slices out of it, but the Jenny Phillips’ Perfect Bread only got 13 slices. Also, it uses less honey and takes butter instead of olive oil. It also calls for instant yeast instead of active dry, which runs at a slightly higher price.

Average cost per slice of homemade bread: 10.5 cents

Things to consider (both good and bad) before making homemade bread:

  • You either need a stand mixer (THIS* is the one I have), a bread machine, or some big guns (a.k.a. muscles) to make it
  • You’ll probably need to use water, gas, and electricity to make it, which increases the cost per slice
  • You have to invest time to make bread
  • You have complete control over the ingredients in your bread
  • Homemade bread is so delicious, it will probably be eaten much faster than the store-bought kind
  • You need a lot of ingredients on hand to make it whenever you need it
  • You have to slice it yourself
  • Bread pans are normally required
  • You have to turn on your oven to make it (which could be a problem in the summer)
  • It makes your house smell like a bakery. The best darn bakery around.
  • You can make different recipes all the time, or you could stick to the same recipe

Things to consider about buying bread:

  • You have a lot of options, all the way from really healthy down to dirt cheap
  • You will probably pay more than homemade
  • There are many questionable ingredients in store-bought bread
  • It’s a great option if you are busy and can’t make your own
  • Not as tasty. Seriously. And it doesn’t smell like bread should.

Here’s my own dilemma. My husband enjoys bread so much that when I make homemade bread, it is eaten at least 5 times as fast as store-bought. So if it’s true that homemade bread is cheaper, you’d think I would be happy. But because we eat it way faster, I have to make it more often, and it actually ends up costing more than store-bought bread because we go through it at lightning speed. Hm. What to do. What to do.

Do you think I should continue buying bread? What do you do?

Photo credit: “Bread” by 2happy on stockvault.net
Linked to The Ultimate Pinterest PartyLou Lou Girls Fabulous Party, and Thrifty Thursday

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Charlee

I'm a mom of 3 on a journey to feed my family nourishing foods. Personally, I believe that you can feed your family healthy, delicious meals without spending a fortune or slaving away in the kitchen.

Comments

  1. Charlee, this post is awesome! I am so excited to try some of the recipes on your pinterest board. I’ve always made homemade bread here and there, but since my husband and I did our 30 days of real food challenge, I’ve started making it weekly. The recipes I’ve been using so far have been OK, but I really haven’t found “the one”. I do agree with you on some of the good things about homemade bread,though. We definitely eat it much faster than we do the store bought because the taste is much better! I also love that we can control what goes into it. AND, the possibilities are endless. You can make a cheesy/herb bread, a sweet bread, breadsticks, buns, whatever! Definitely pinning this!
    Amanda @ The Kolb Corner recently posted…Whole Wheat Pizza Dough in the Bread MachineMy Profile

    • Thanks for pinning.

      I wish I could make it weekly, too. Maybe you’ll find the right one on my pinterest board! I seriously didn’t know I would like making bread so much until after I got married.

      You guys are brave doing that real food challenge. I would do it, but I am so addicted to sugar I think I’d find it hard to eat! Thanks for coming over.

  2. Thanks for the breakdown.
    I love making homemade bread occasionally, but I don’t do it often enough. Now it’s summer and I don’t have central AC there’s the cost of a hot kitchen too.
    But, my goodness, I just love homemade bread!
    My one complaint about homemade bread is that it doesn’t last as long as store bought when we’re looking at making sandwiches. Storebought can handle being over a week old.
    My favorite homemade yeast bread is rolls. I have a hidden veggie multigrain roll recipe that I just love.
    Julie V. recently posted…Sweet Strawberry Carrot MuffinsMy Profile

    • My sister has successfully frozen her homemade bread, which is something I need to try. The texture starts getting too weird if you don’t eat it fast enough.

      VEGGIE multigrain roll recipe? That sounds delicious, actually.

  3. Wow!! You put a lot of research into this!! I do think it is something to think about though. I have always thought making bread was less expensive, but if you take into consideration you don’t get as many pieces, and my kids will eat homemade bread only for certain things (like jam, cheese) but don’t like it for other things (regular ham, turkey, etc.). Plus, you truly have to weigh the time and effort it takes to make bread. I do hate a cheap loaf of bread from the store, though. Thanks for doing some great research and sharing!
    Elizabeth recently posted…On My Summer Reading List: 10+ Books to Visit this SummerMy Profile

    • Thanks for noticing my effort. I really did spend a lot of time on it, but I didn’t realize it was going to take so long when I started. I was determined to find what I was looking for! I am so glad you stopped by!

  4. Kasey says:

    This is an interesting post. For the last couple of years I have been going back and forth on this issue. I generally pay .50 to a 1.00$ for my bread which last my family about a week. I also buy my yeast, oil, flour, and eggs from Costco, which brings down the cost of making it. However no matter which bread recipe I try for sandwhich bread I use it is albeit delicious, not really suitible for sandwhiches because it is so crumbly. Maybe its the high altitude? I don’t know I have tried a few experiments and nothing has really worked. On the upside I never buy rolls, buns, tortillas, or anything (excepting Sandwhich bread) premade, they are delectable and ohhh so cost effective!

    • I could probably bring down the cost of the homemade bread by buying the ingredients on sale or cheaper. Since that is the price I pay for all the ingredients, though, I did the comparison at that cost. It’s true, too, that the homemade bread is a bit crumbly after about 2 days. I should look into altitude and bread making. The only thing I know is that you need to add more flour, most of the time, at a higher altitude. I would love to make my own rolls! When my daughters get older, we’re going to spend a lot of time baking! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject!

  5. Charlee what a brilliant post. I adore making homemade bread – the smell alone is what makes me do it, but I did wonder was it more expensive to do. This is such a well researched post – Thank you xx
    AmberJane recently posted…Things you can make from a Summer GardenMy Profile

  6. My husband is the bread maker in our family! I love it. Pinned. Thanks so much for being a part of our party! Please join us tonight at 7 pm. We love having YOU! http://loulougirls.blogspot.com/
    Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  7. Excellent comparison! I make all our own bread. I use my bread machine to mix (using the dough setting) and then take it out and shape it into loaves, put it in pans, and let it rise before baking it. It’s relatively trouble-free. I usually bake two loaves once a week and it’s enough to last our family of 4 till the next bread-making day. I make Country Buttermilk using buttermilk and eggs, so the cost is a little higher than you have here, but it’s so much tastier that I don’t even care. 😉 And other times I make leftover-oatmeal bread to make up the cost difference — just as yummy!! Both recipes are on my blog, if you’re interested.
    Christephi recently posted…{Book} Review: Panama GirlMy Profile

    • Why thank you, Christephi. I bet the bread machine makes things a whole lot easier, just like my stand mixer. Both of those breads sound wonderful!

  8. Speedyfg says:

    I wondered about freezing it and saw that your sister does it – do you freeze it in dough form or after it is baked? Thanks for such a nicely written article and great research.

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