Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The 25p Loaf of Bread

Bread prices have been rising for some time, the assorted media and press have been providing plenty of information regarding soaring wheat prices, the farming community are well aware of huge increases in fertiliser prices - again affecting crop growing - but where, oh where, is all the good news? It's managing to stay hidden from site! But fear not...

In reality, stores seem able to sell flour at REDUCED PRICES! How can this be? I'm not even going to try to fathom that one out because my main concern is keeping the household going in bread. It can be served with almost anything, it can be made with almost anything, it can be sweet, it can be fruity, it can be savoury or it can just simply be bread. The cheapest supermarket loaf appears to be around the 49p mark, so I thought it was about time to show how simple it is to make huge savings on something that many of us use on a daily basis. Give us our daily bread - at a price we can all afford.

A kilo of plain flour costs around 35p but a kilo of strong bread flour can cost £1 - that's enough for two large loaves. These aren't highly marketed brands, just stores' own basic brands, but they do make surprisingly good bread and rolls. To begin with, you can practice with 4:1 ratio but it is possible to completely omit the more expensive strong flour and use only plain flour - making it cheaper still!


This was an experimental loaf to see if it would pass as good enough for the Frugaldom family. It's the most basic loaf I've ever made.


220ml warm water
100ml whey (leftover from cheesemaking)
2 tsp salt
400g strong white bread flour
100g plain flour
1 tsp fast acting dried yeast

All into breadmaker in that order, set to light, medium, basic loaf, and here's what I got -

It weighed in at 800g. On a gram for gram comparison, it's almost half the price of the cheapest available basic sliced white loaf. If you don't make cheese to produce the whey, make up the difference with water.

Have fun experimenting. We have a frugal food section in the Frugaldom forums where you can compare notes, post results, share your successes (and failures - we all have them) and even share your photos. Hopefully, I'll see you there.

The above is my basic recipe to which all sorts of herbs, fruits and/or seasonings can be added. If you are handbaking, you can easily split the mix into smaller loaves or bread rolls. Always remember to make the most of the heat being used to bake the bread as every penny counts in the quest for frugal living.
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  1. I do 200g ordinary plain to 500g white bread flour now, along with 1¾ cup water, 2 tsp salt, 2tbsp butter/marg and 2 tsp quick yeast.
    This makes a lovely loaf

    1. I'm using one of those Lidl twin loaf machines, so used the above recipe substituting with cheap bought wholemeal flour. The above needs split between the 2 pans. It should also be noted that when I wrote the original article, the Co-op basics bread was 49p per loaf. I believe it's now 50p in the big supermarkets but there's no way we can get it for anywhere near that where we live. Cheapest loaf here is now £1.49 or else travel 10 miles to the Co-op and pay 89p for a store's own basics loaf. Just goes to show the price differences between urban and rural locations - shocking!

    2. This is just an experiment we've been doing over the years - it began life as 'The Bread Wars' back in 1999 when Walmart was taking over Asda. I'll rake out the back copies and see what the prices were then. :)


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