Does homemade bread really save money? Is it worth it to make your own bread? We will hash out all the costs and other details so you can decide for yourself!
I often get asked if making homemade bread is really cheaper than just buying bread. There are lots of factors to take into consideration when deciding which DIY projects and homemade products you’re going to take on.
In the very beginning of our journey to pay off six figures of student loan debt in a hurry, we cut out absolutely every expense we could, including buying bread. For years, I made my own bread once or twice a week. We didn’t buy bread from the store.
Then, when I was pregnant with my youngest (who is now nearly two), I started buying bread. I felt kind of guilty about it (mostly when I would see traffic from my blog post about how homemade bread is helping us pay off our debt), but I just couldn’t manage to stay upright for long enough to make bread when I had higher priorities for the times when I felt well.
Over and over I get readers who ask, “Is homemade bread really cheaper or do you just like it better?”
Today I’m going to do the price breakdown for my standard sandwich bread recipe and then I’ll talk about a few other factors I take into consideration.
- 3 cups hot water (110-120 degrees)
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 cup honey or brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
- 8 cups wheat flour (divided 3 cups, 5 cups)
Price Breakdown for Homemade Bread
I’m guessing that if you are interested in the price of homemade bread then you are a frugal person who is a smart shopper. Since we don’t have an Aldi (the nearest one is 5 hours away), I shop at Winco. Their prices are the best in the area.
Wheat Flour/Freshly Ground Wheat
Freshly Ground Wheat Flour
I grind my own wheat (with the help of my wheat grinder, of course) instead of buying wheat flour. In Winco’s bulk foods section, wheat berries cost $.45/pound.
One pound of wheat berries is about 2.25 cups of wheat berries, which means each cup of wheat berries costs about $.20.
Each cup of wheat berries makes about 1.5 cups of flour, which means each cup of home-ground flour costs about $.13
My recipe calls for about 8 cups.
—> $1.04 for 8 cups of flour (freshly ground)
If you don’t have a wheat grinder, you can buy bags of ready-made wheat flour. You can get a 5 lb bag (18.75 cups) for $3.54, which is $.19 per cup.
—> $1.52 for 8 cups of flour
Yeast is one of the groceries that I buy at Sam’s Club. I took the price from Amazon since I don’t know the Sam’s Club price off the top of my head. If I remember right, though, it’s about $5 for two of these packages. I’ll use the Amazon price in this illustration though, even though I’m fairly certain it’s more expensive than what I buy.
$7.69 for 1 lb (48 Tablespoons) = $.16 per Tablespoon
—>$.24 for 1 1/2 Tablespoons
I use normal canola oil in my bread.
$1.88 for 48 ounces (96 Tablespoons) = $.02 per Tablespoon
—>$.10 for 1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons)
My recipe works fine with honey or brown sugar. As you’ll see in the price comparison, it’s significantly cheaper with brown sugar, but if you are particular about the types of sugars you use, then honey is a great choice.
$1.28 for 2 lbs (226 teaspoons) =$.006 per teaspoon = $.018 per Tablespoon
—>$.05 for 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons)
$7.10 for 32 ounces (43 Tablespoons) = $.165 per Tablespoon
—>$1.32 for 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons)
$.50 for 1 pound (~26 Tablespoons) = $.02 per Tablespoon
—> $.02 for 1 Tablespoon of salt
Three cups of warm water is as good as free.
Total Cost of Homemade Bread
For 2 loaves of freshly ground whole wheat bread made with brown sugar (the least expensive way to make it), it costs about $1.45 or $.73 per loaf.
For 2 loaves of wheat bread (with store-bought flour) made with honey (the most expensive way to make it), is costs about $3.20 or $1.60 per loaf.
Comparing Homemade Bread to Store-Bought Bread
Whether homemade bread is cheaper or not depends on the kind of bread you make and the kind of bread you buy. I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, you can’t get any bread for less than a dollar per loaf. In that case, homemade bread is definitely cheaper.
Another big difference is that when I buy bread I often go cheap and get the $.99 loaves of wheat “air” bread. To buy loaves of bread at the store that are equivalent in quality and nutrition to what I make at home, it would cost $3-5 per loaf. When I’m buying for my family of 6 (who eats PBJs like it’s their job), that would add up fast!
The “While I’m Here” factor
Another factor to consider with buying bread is what I like to call the “while I’m here” factor. Bread and milk are the classic food items that trigger a trip to the store, but we never just get bread and milk. We always find sales and other things that we had forgotten that we need. The trip to the store invariably ends up costing more than the price of bread or milk.
If you are in the habit of making your own bread, then needing bread doesn’t trigger a trip to the store, which means you don’t buy all those things that you didn’t really need anyway.
Is homemade bread cheaper?
From a strictly numbers standpoint, making your own bread does cost less that pretty much any bread you’ll find at the store. That doesn’t mean that everyone should start making their own bread though.
Just like DIY projects, homemade household products, or canning your produce, there are more factors to consider in addition to the cost. When you take time, effort, and other factors into the equation, you may or many not have a good deal.
If you’d like to try it, the recipe I use is below. Once you’ve made it a time or two, you’ll get the routine and be able to multitask other kitchen cleaning or cooking while making your bread.
My kids LOVE having warm bread for a snack or with dinner. I have to be careful though, or they’ll eat it all!
- 3 cups warm/hot water (110-120 degrees)
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- ⅓ cup oil
- ½ cup honey or brown sugar
- 1½ Tablesoons yeast
- 8 cups wheat flour (divided 3 cups, 5 cups)
- Mix the hot water with salt, oil, sweetener (honey or brown sugar), yeast, and 3 cups of flour.
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes (it should bubble slightly).
- Mix in 5 more cups of flour. Dough should form a ball and not stick to sides of bowl. Add a little more flour if it's overly sticky.
- If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes. If mixing by hand, divide the dough in half and knead each dough ball 30-50 times on a floured surface.
- When dough has been kneaded, form two loaves and put into greased bread pans.
- Cover with a slightly moist tea towel and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes. If your house is cool or drafty, you can warm your oven slightly (then turn it off) and let your bread rise in the oven.
- After your bread has risen, remove it from the oven while you preheat the oven to 325. When oven is up to temperature, put bread in and bake for about 30 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack. I always check the bottom of the bread to make sure it's golden too.
- Butter the top of the loaves if desired. Not only does it look pretty, but it helps to keep the loaf soft and it's yummy!
- If you're curious about the price breakdown of this recipe, go to https://www.sixfiguresunder.com/is-homemade-bread-cheaper
How about you?
- Do you regularly make your own bread or buy it?
- Is making homemade bread worth it to you? Why or why not?
- How do you factor time into the equation?
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I am hard pressed to find a loaf of bread for under 3.99 but I never buy the plain white/wheat bread. I find that they are not filling and lack real nutrition. Most of the time the loaves are mutli grained with different seeds. I am pretty certain that home made is significantly less.
In the recipe I think you meant to say 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast, not Tablespoons 🙂
Actually, nevermind. I make much smaller loafs, with only 300 grams of flour and this recipe is for 8 cups flour so it probably is Tablespoons. My bad.
How much does the bread loaf weigh? I know a slice should be about 1 oz but I can’t tell how many servings this recipe would have. Please let me know!
Strictly talking money, (bread is bread when you need to save money). I love my breads & all the types… I am talking basic white & wheat.
I have an Aldi that I exclusively shop at minus a few items(they dont carry them). BREAD… I find is cheaper to buy then make. For example .85c for white(hubby preference)… the rest of, 4, prefer 100% whole wheat(1.15, Aldi). I have priced homemade before & it is not cheaper.
Again not saying homemade it is not better but just Strictly price point.
How much do you earn on your job per hour? Bakers earn 9-14 an hour.
Richard Simpson says
Everyone isnt taking into consideration that, yes electric/gas costs money, but you can bake bread in bulk too. With only a little extra effort, you could make 6 loaves instead of two. then youd save on the electric and gas consumption.
Lex Barringer says
Many bakers forget this other step, it’s an important one, too.
Figure out how long it takes your oven to heat up to temperature, what temperature is it, how long are you baking. Figure out how much electricity in kilowatt hours or BTUs that would be, if you have a gas oven. You need to know how much money you’re going to spend ahead of time figuring out if you are saving money or wasting it.
If you’re going to bake, go big, if you do one loaf at a time, it’s most likely you’re wasting a lot of energy to do very little.
I make bread to save money for both standard loaves and more exotic blends. In both cases it’s a win. Purchasing secondhand breadmakers is the way to go and if you are going to factor in that life energy is worth something (i.e. time it takes to knead, etc). Doing other activities whether it is spending time with family or side-hustles that actually pay you while letting the bread grow, is the way to go.
Also, bread is a nice hack for fruit and veggies that are about to turn. Next to smoothies, leftover pizza, and leftover bread is my favorite–if you aren’t picky about your moisture content in your bread.
Most definitely baking your own bread it much cheaper. BUT !!! No one ever adds the cost of electricity to make the doe, and then bake the bread. Depending the machines you use or don’t use to make the doe. Then depending on how you bake it, in a oven, counter top oven, or bread machine, could cost from 8 cents, to 35 or even 40 cents more a loaf on your electric bill.
Great video, thanks.
Yeah, I was looking more on to this, I feel like my electric bill could rocket or my gas tank would go empty way faster.
Shantel Jones says
It is so much healthier to make your own bread! But I have 5 kids and homeschool so I mix in my bread machine and bake or just use my bread machine totally and it cuts out even more time! Bonus I picked my bread machine up for $8at a thrift store so no major purchases either 😉
Robbie Achord says
I’ve never made my own bread, so this maybe a really stupid question but I was wondering what type of yeast do you use?
Absolutely right , thanks for your idea and the best tip
Thanks for sharing the post !
Colin Freeman says
I need to try this. Keep telling my wife home made bread would be so much better for us so why not?
I love making my own homemade Amish bread. The cheapest loaf of bread at Walmart is .99 Aldis is the same..however, there is no comparison on taste when making your own from scratch verses store bought ..so in my opinion even if my bread cost me $1.50 to make its worth it to me as it’s more healthier, I know what’s in it and it’s definitely more filling then store bought.
Thought I’d add we’re in Vietnam at the moment, and baguettes cost about 6 cents a loaf from street vendors! I can’t do a price comparison because I haven’t seen any flour in the markets or stores, but I reckon it’s pretty hard to beat 6 cents for a nice crusty French loaf.
Forgot to add, this strategy sometimes means our bread is English muffins, tortillas or bagels. They’re regularly in that section or on sale for under a dollar a package. It’s a bit of an adventure, kind of like thrifting. Sometimes I hit the jackpot, other times We use what I can get a good deal on vs I need ____ bread for _____.
Both. I live in a semi-rural area, so we do not have a bread outlet nearby, but the grocery store in town, and more frequently, the 2 larger stores the next town over, often have really nice bread in the marked down area. Often it is the artisanal style or organic or truly whole grain options that do not find a home when they first hit the shelves at $5-6 each. So, when they are .50cents to $2, depending, I buy as much as they have and freeze.
With all due respect, do you factor in a $218 wheat berry grinder (current pricing for the one you linked on Amazing) into your calculations? I have to say, I am a bit shocked that folks pay that unless the current price is an anomaly for a grinder (I have no idea – never priced them before!). I would have to be making a TON of bread to justify that kind of cost unless I got it as a gift/hand-me-down/thrifted item. I bought my breadmaker from Goodwill for <$30 and it was brand new and I thought that would be tough to make back the money, but wow – I guess i just have a bit of sticker shock!
If you aren’t making a ton of bread, but you have a stand mixer, you could get the grinder attachment for about $140, give or take.
Thanks for this run down. They just had the fit wheat bread for sale at Aldi for 79c. I want to find a light bread recipe and maybe I’ll try it. I work 40 hours so I have to pick and choose my DIY.
I’ve been making 7 loaves of bread and 1.5 dozen buns (because I only have 7 loaf pans 😉 ) for years now. I love knowing what is going into my family. Though, I have to admit, I always have a couple loaves of store bought on hand because I think it’s a shame to put my yummy homemade bread in the toaster… 🙂
We only eat the 45 Calorie bread from Sara Lee or Aldi’s. I can get a loaf at Aldi’s for about $1.69 or 2 loaves at Sam’s for about $4. We go through a loaf a week. I like others have said would rather spend my time doing other things. But homemade bread would only be eaten by myself with lots of butter and carbs. Not good for the waistline.
I have been making my own bread for years. My recipe is slightly different from yours, but overall, the same idea. My whole family prefers homemade and we don’t like all the chemicals in store bought, so making homemade is a no brainier 🙂 plus I’ve been doing it for so long now that I have it down to a science and it doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore!
Your posts inspired me to try my hand at making bread! I made the soft white baguettes a couple of times. They were fantastic, but, it took up quite a chunk of my Sunday afternoon to make them. For now, I’m making bread about once a month, and it seems to be working out okay. If I make 4 loaves, my husband and the kids eat them in a week–and if I buy storebought, we only go through two loaves in a week!
Alexis @FITnancials says
I think making your own bread from time to time is a great idea, but for convective sake, buying bread is much easier.
We have Aldi nearby so buying sandwich bread there is definitely cheaper than making it myself. But, I do make my own dutch oven bread instead of purchasing a loaf of French or Italian bread. It’s a no-knead recipe and requires very little active hands-on time so making this bread does result in real savings for our family.
My wheatberries are more expensive too, because, for one thing, I get organic. I also use organic sugar or raw, local honey, so my homemade loaves end up not so cheap, BUT, I buy organic whole grain bread if I buy the bread, which is easily $4-5 a loaf, sometimes more, so I still save money by baking my own, which I do as often as I can.
Lindsey Mozgai says
I’ve been wanting to try to make my own bread among many items for a while now, my flaw has been that I just can’t seem to find the time, so I usually just cave and end up buying a loaf instead :/.
Locally we pay $1.50/lb for bulk wheat berries. I’ve seen it on Amazon for around $1 a pound but I prefer to walk to the store to get my food. When running the numbers for myself based on the cost of supplies and utility costs it’s cheaper to buy a loaf of bread at the store for us. My children prefer the taste of store bought bread over homemade so on the rare occasion that they eat bread I save myself money and get it at the store.
Store bought is definitely cheaper here. A loaf of bread costs about US 60 cents. It costs about 57 cents for a kilo of flour (4 cups @ 250 g = 1 kilo), and once you add in the other ingredients, plus the gas for the stove, the water for washing up, my time, etc, we’re better off buying bread.
Definitely cheaper as I don’t like the cheap breads at the store. Like you though that is what I tend to buy, if I buy. My ‘daily bread’ recipe is similar to yours except I use 1T of yeast and maybe 2T each of sugar/honey and oil. So it’s really cheap.
I also save time by making 6 loaves of dough at once since I am lucky enough to have a good stand mixer that can handle it. With the stand mixture, it is truly minimal hands-on time. I’ll use 1-2 loaves worth of the dough to make stuffed sandwiches and/or cinnamon rolls, the rest I make into loaves. Keep 1 out and freeze the rest.
Mrs. Daisy @ Dirt Road Daisy says
I have been wondering for quite some time whether or not making bread was worth the time. Thank you for this post! Fortunately, I live near an Aldi in Ohio. I am able to regularly purchase loaves of bread for $0.99. As a full time work out of the home mom, I think this is going to have to be one of those things where I throw in the flag and say that convenience trumps frugality. I’m lucky to get a homemade meal on the dinner table each night, let alone freshly homemade bread 🙂 Although I’m curious and may try to make a loaf or two on the weekend! About how long does your homemade bread stay fresh?