The Cost of Bread and the Metric System

“The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it.”
-Abraham “Grampa” Simpson

Working, as I have for the last month, in a bakery that specializes in bread, I have a few observations.  The first regards the metric versus the imperial system of measurements.  Why anyone would choose willingly to use pounds and ounces to measure anything simply boggles my mind.  The simple act of altering quantities of measurements requires a calculator far too frequently.  But that’s really more of an aside.  The company I work for (being owned by former Americans) uses imperial measurements, but that’s just something I have to put up with.  No, I have another rant planned for today.

I’ve been asked a few times now as to why I make bread at home.  The easiest and least satisfying answer is that home made is always better.  As I’ve said a few times, it’s not so hard to make, but what boggles me is that so many people have asked about the cost effectiveness.  Home made bread is cheaper by far, and to prove it, let’s cost out my favourite same day bread recipe.

Ingredients

500g Bread Flour
10g Instant Yeast
10g Salt
400g Water

Already we can see there isn’t much there in terms of ingredients.  This is good by me, though.  The bread I like the best starts with this kind of lean dough, without the extra ingredients like butter or oil and sugar.  This things have their place but the best bread is comes from the four key ingredients here. Let’s look at the cost, though.

In terms of flour, I buy it by the 10 kilo bag, usually for around ten bucks.  So 500 grams (for either two loaves or three small baguettes) costs around 50 cents, call it 25 cents a loaf.  Yeast, next.  My little 100 or so gram jar set me back around five dollars.  In terms of one loaf (five grams) the cost is 25 cents again.  So we’re up to a whopping 50 cents for a loaf of bread.  Since the cost of salt and water are negligible, we’ll call it there.  If you can show me where to get truly good bread for that price I will be very impressed.

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