Thursday, July 01, 2010

Bread Prices

Our church school has a flea market coming up. I'm thinking about getting a booth and selling some junk and some used books. But I've also thought about selling some bread. Wondering how much to charge, I figured I should take an honest look at what the ingredients cost for my bread. Last time I checked that, it was running me about 25-cents per loaf. Uh. That was a while ago.

Since then, flour and sugar prices have quadrupled. And I've started using healthier ingredients: olive oil instead of Crisco, sea salt instead of refined Morton's, flax and wheat germ and oat bran and millet as additives.

The ingredients alone (no fuel for the stove, no factoring in the cost of my time) is $1.15 per loaf for the plain boring bread. Yikes! I guess this means it would be unreasonable to charge $1 or $2 per loaf at a bake sale, eh?

This is like the sticker shock when I looked at dresses a couple of years ago. I thought a decent dress would cost $20. But no, Lands End and Penney's catalogs are selling dresses for $100.

LaLa-Land is the result of trying desperately never to buy anything. I don't KNOW what anything costs any more. And when I find out, it about blows me away.


  1. Bread similar to yours sells for 4.99 at a local bread company. Small, organic, multi-grain loaves sell for 3.97 at the grocery. Even the prepackaged, sliced natural loaves of wheat bread are currently 3.89 at the grocery.

  2. I agree with Jane - $4. or $5. a loaf ($4.50 might sound better than $5.)

  3. I was able to sell all I could make of a pretty plain 1/2 whole wheat bread for $5 a loaf several years back here. Homemade in the right venue goes for a bunch, at least bread does.

  4. Where do you get your wheat flour? Do you buy in bulk?

    I once figured that the basic white bread from my bread machine cost about 55 cents for a 2 lb loaf. That includes buying bread flour in 25lb bags from Sams for about $9, which is a lot cheaper than wheat flour from the grocery store. The wheat bread I usually make now is probably about in line with your prices (King Arthur wheat flour is about $3 for 5 lbs, I think). You might look into finding a recipe that uses less oil, which is probably the next most expensive ingredient.

    Or you could perfect a basic sourdough recipe: just flour, water, salt, and home-made starter instead of yeast. Bread without fat goes stale faster, but people at the flea market would probably finish it so fast that they'd never notice.

    Maybe you should consider making smaller loaves that you can sell for a cheaper price. Most store loaves are around 1 pound, much lighter than the 2 pound loaves I make.

  5. Jane & Mom -- see, now, I can't hardly see anybody paying $3, much less $4-5. At the family reunion, I had to pick up the loaves of bread and refuse to look at the pricetag! I think I'm really really out-of-tune with how much things cost in the Real World.

    Gina, I'm trying to figure out how to make that much bread fresh. If I could fill the freezer, take frozen bread in the cooler, and send kids home to get more frozen bread when my stash runs low, I could sell a lot more. But if you make it fresh that day (or even the day before), 20 loaves would take me all day to make. And I would hope I could sell more than 20. (When I sold bread at a Sem Wives' Craft Fair 25 years ago, I sold out in the first two hours. I can't remember how many loaves that was, but I baked ALL day the previous day, and some that morning.)

  6. I don't know about your area but here no one would bat an eyelash paying $4-5 for a loaf of homemade bread.

    The generic bread at our market sells for $1.75 a loaf with the nicer stuff going for $4 or so. Don't under-price yourself :)

  7. I buy my flour at Woodmans. When I bought it in bulk, it was no cheaper than the Dakota Maid [excellent bread flour and ww!!] from Woodmans.

    I looked at my figures, Robert. Yes, the oil is 1/4 of the cost of the flour. But the goodies (the bran, the germ, the millet, the flax, the bulghar, etc) costs almost as much as the oil. I could save money by leaving that out if I were to sell at a flea market. But I'm not sure I'd want to; I think I'd rather charge a fair price for my regular REAL bread.

    Yeast is definitely the cheapest item I put in the bread. I buy that in 2# bricks for less than Redstar sells their 4-ounce jar.

    Mini-loaves is a good idea.

    Kim, my brain knows you're right. But since *I* balk at $3/loaf bread, my gut says it's unimaginable that anyone would pay $5/loaf.