Thursday, June 14, 2012
What's the real price of fresh baked bread?
For our two pound recipe, the ingredients include:
Water: 1.25 cups + 2 TBL
Oil: 2 TBL
Sugar: .25 Cup
Salt: 2 tsp
Dry Milk: 2 TBL
White Flour: 3.5 cups
Wheat Flour: 0.5 cups
Active Dry Yeast: 2.25 tsp
Except water, the items can be bought at the store "in bulk" and so I researched the prices online:
Water: ?? Assumed to be free - perhaps a later post will calculate that?
Oil $3.19 / 48 oz bottle
Sugar: $2.54 / 5 lb bag
Salt: $0.49 / 26 oz
Dry Milk $6.49 / 25.6 oz box
White Flour $1.49 / 5Lb bag
Wheat Flour $3.49 / 5Lb bag
Active Dry Yeast: 4.99 / 4oz jar
Converting each of the following into prices per recipe will prove to be a bit challenging, as many items were sold by weight but used by volume. There is no single direct conversion between these two types of measurements, because the same volume of flour will weigh less than the same volume of water, because it has a lighter density. I was tempted to use fluid ounces as a common unit for all items, but because of their different densities, this would incorrect. In fact, flour is so much lighter than water that it would be nearly nearly 2 times more costly to naively assume that (8 / 5.5 to be more precise).
So I will demonstrate the calculation for flour:
Using similar logic for the rest of the items, I got the following prices*:
This brings the grand total for a recipe of bread to: $1.33. Unfortunately this does not yield the same usefulness in terms of number of servings, nor in shelf life, as a typical $1.50 loaf of bread, nor does it include the cost of water (probably negligible?) nor the price of electricity to run the bread maker (probably not negligible). But it sure tastes good, and makes the house smell a lot prettier than a bag of bread.
And now you know how to make the same sort of calculations for your meals. Anyone want to calculate the true price of lasagna now?
Before you go out and buy your own bread maker, remember that ours was a gift so I didn't include that price in the mix, but if you buy your own, you'll have to estimate how many times you will bake bread and figure in that cost too. At $100, if you bake 400 loaves you'll add another $0.25 per loaf to the cost.
*Notice several conversions with ounces are different because I looked up the weights of various ingredients.