The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Curiosity: flour costs

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nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Curiosity: flour costs

Hi,


visiting various online resellers of flours based in US I noted that flour costs are stratospherically high. Are they always so high, even in shops?


Just to make some example here in italy I can get 1 kg of flour for a price ranging from 30 eurocents  (ideal for pastries) up to 2€ (high gluten flour), but generally very good flours ideal for leavened breads (enriched or not) can be bought for less than 90 cents. My superfine (and excellent) wholemeal rye and wheat flours cost 90 cents per kg, too. Pizza flour generally costs 50-70 cents.


Specialty flours such as wholemeal durum, oat, barley, first and second clear flour generally cost between 1 and 2€ per kg, but they are harder to get.


I'd like to make an idea of the prices overseas.


 

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Well...  At Whole Foods Market in NYC, you can get their brand of "unbleached all-purpose" or whole wheat flour for $2.99 for 5lbs (2.27 kg).  Their organic flours are $4.79 for 5lbs (2.27 kg).  When I can't go there for flour, I usually get Heckers, or Gold Medal unbleached all purpose flour for anywhere from $3.69 to $4.79 depending on where I go.  Hodgeson Mill whole rye flour is about $5.99 for 5lbs (2.27 kg and Arrowhead Mills organic stoneground rye flour is $3.19 for 850g at Whole Foods Mkt.


 


Tim

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Nicodvb,


Here the most common weight found in grocery stores is the 5 pound bag. You can also find some 10 pound bags but the per pound price is similar. The price ranges from $2.15 to $6.50 per bag for good quality Bread flour. The Gold Medal Better for Bread is presently $2.65 per 5# bag. King Arthur is the most expensive AP or Bread flour available.


These prices are for the Midwest part of the country in the grocery. Online prices tend to be higher due to the specialty nature of the product. Shipping costs is frequently the same as the product cost.


For my use, I have tried to find the least expensive readily available flour that will produce beautiful breads. Dakota Maid and Gold medal Better for Bread fit the bill for under $2.50 per bag usually. That's only marginally higher than 90 Eurocents per kilo, depending on where the exchange rate is.


Eric

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

store prices seem to be much lower:-). Relieving!


 

This Day's picture
This Day

Yesterday at the grocery store I bought a 5-pound bag of flour, more than I usually pay, but I had a $1 manufacturer's coupon clipped from the newspaper, for a net price of $1.99 for 5 pounds of flour.

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

I buy my flour in 50-lb bags.  For organic bread flour, whole wheat, or high-gluten, the price is between $15-19.  Even at $20 that still comes out to 40 cents per pound.  Any more than that and I feel I'm being ripped off.  FYI, for non-organic flour the cost drops to between $12-15 for a 50-lb bag.


-Peter

krem1234's picture
krem1234

That's a great price for organic flour - where do you buy it from?

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

I get it from Lakeside Bakery Supply.  It's just north of El Cajon, about 35 minutes outside San Diego.


-Peter

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Even at the grocery store can net one even much lower prices. The previously mentioned Gold Medal Better for Bread flour normally retails for about the same $2.65 for a 5 pound bag. Over the past 11 months, with sales and coupons, I have been able to get it at 94 cents per 5 pound bag. 14 bags total in 3 or 4 purchases.


Hopefully this next upcoming holiday period(Easter) yields another similar opportunity.

ssor's picture
ssor

I can usually get flour in 5 pound bags for between 1.89 and 2.49. AP unbleached is usually the same price as bleached but WW is always priced more. Sometimes Gold Medal or Pillsbury is on sale for less than house brands. I have no brand loyality except for Hodsons Mill stone ground WW.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I take my hat off to you for diligence. 94 cents is  a respectable price. I'm afraid I'm not much of a coupon watcher but it clearly is helpful.


Eric

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

In this case, even though I am a very "opportunistic coupon watcher", this one required no effort. The $1.49 sales tag and the blazing pink coupon stuck on the bag stuck on the bag was a no brainer.


I think it is possibly just a somewhat unique situation in my area, Georgia. The regional White Lily brand is so strong here, the national brands seem to have a tough time selling without considerably discounting their "regular" price. It's not uncommon here to regularly see wide spanses of empty, sold out White Lily shelves next to full, almost untouched shelf space of the national brands.


In this case, this exact same lot of B4B flour, without coupons, sat on the shelf from last years Easter sales period until they went on sale again for the Thanksgiving sales. I used to work in the food distribution field, so watching expire dates, seasonal sales activity, etc, is somewhat of a habit for me.


Like someone mentioned earlier, when you're used to paying one price, then paying a much higher price for same, it feels like a rip off.


 

placebo's picture
placebo

The local Target sells King Arthur and Gold Medal all-purpose flours for $3.20 for a 5-lb bag. That's equivalent to $0.64 a pound or $1.41 a kilogram. It also sells KA bread flour for the same price. Trader Joe's sells its brand of AP flour for $3.00 for a 5-lb bag ($0.60/lb or $1.32/kg). Henry's, Mother's, and, I think, Whole Foods sell AP flour in bulk, but I don't know those prices off the top of my head.


For whole wheat or white whole wheat KA flours, the best price I've found is $4.80 per 5-lb bag ($0.96/lb or $2.11/kg) at Smart & Final. Smart & Final also sells 10-lb bags of the AP flour, but it's still cheaper to buy AP flour from Target. If I wanted organic KA flours, I'd have to head to Whole Foods, which sells them for $8.00 per 5-lb bag ($1.60/lb or $3.52/kg).

EvaB's picture
EvaB

2, 5 and 10 kilogram bags, and the 5 kilo bag runs about $7 bucks a bag, this is around 10 pounds or slightly more. I have never bought a smaller than 10 kilo bag, and it doesn't take long to use it up. The 10 kilo bags are expensive, and 12.99 a bag is around normal, but I can usually find it on sale for the price of a 5 kilo bag, so buy when I find it. I keep my white flour in the bag, in the cool, and have no problems with it lasting, in fact one bag went a whole year before being used, and it was as good as the first bag. In fact it made much nicer bread, although a bit pickier for pie crusts.


The only 2 kilo or close to 5 pound bag I ever buy is a bag of Brodie's self rasing flour and then only when I have a recipe that calls for self raising flour specifically. Since those are few and far between, I still have half a bag in store.


I just buy the regular store brands, Five Roses, Robin Hood, or Sunny Dawn, or Harmonie, or Safeway, I try to get unbleached all purpose, and have gluten flour to add if I need strong bread flour. I haven't had any problems with flour and they all make what I cook with them, about the same, any problems with things is usually atributable to my poor baking skills rather than the flour.


The basic flour cost at 12.99 per bag runs about .59 cents a pound, when I get the same bag for 7.99 the cost per pound drops to 36-37 cents per pound.


To give you a bit of perspective, my mother said when her dad got his old age pension it was 8 dollars a month, with that money, they bought, 1 pound of coffee, 1 pound of tea, a fillup of a 2 gallon can of coaloil, 100 pounds of flour, a can of baking powder, and a 1 pound tin of tobacco for Grandpa. That was what they lived on, growing and shooting everything else. This was in the dirty thirties and it was a household of 2 adults, 4 children ranging from 12-18, and eventually a small child of 4. But it took them 100 pounds of flour a month. And all of that was bought with an 8 dollar income.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nico,


In a time when the world price for milling wheat is rising rapidly, thanks in no small way to those greedy city "fat cats", and I guess the bankers who cocked it all up for us in the first place...and it won't go away, so best get used to the price spikes!


The price of strong white bread flour on the supermarket shelves here in the UK is between £1.30 and £1.50, with a Euro worth around £0.88.   Plain flour is just over the £1 mark, although there are very cheap grades sold at a lot less than this.   We pay a lot more for speciality flours such as rye, spelt and organic flours, generally.   The local Gilchesters flour I like to use sells for over £3 for a 1.5kg bag!!!


Commercially, in College, I pay only just over £1 for the same quantity of good quality industrial bread flour [Carrs].


In the UK the standard retail flour bag weighs 1.5kg.   Of course, I buy for the College in half tonne quantities


Best wishes


Andy


ps I wish you could afford the ransom demanded by my employers!!!

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

are always scary, anytime!! Whenever I see prices expressed in pounds I get shivers down the spine.


Happy baking and come back soon!


 

Jaydot's picture
Jaydot

Ah yes, prices in pounds, always scares me too :).


I buy flour at my local (wind)mill, where a kilo of stoneground wheatflour costs 1,20 euro (about $ 1.65 I think), and organic wheatflour 1,40. It's slightly cheaper when you buy the 5 kilo bags and slightly cheaper still when you buy 25 kilos.
See their pricelist here.


I know this flour is mostly milled from German wheat, but I have no idea what category of flour it is (bread, strong, AP, etc.). It makes a nice bread and that's what counts.


In the supermarkets you can get flour for less than 1 euro/kilo.


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Thing is English flour prices are most frequently for 1.5kg and nico started with 1kg prices. If you switch to 1kg it's not so frightening!


I mostly buy Waitrose own organic bread flour (which is milled by the really good independent miller Marriage's), for £1 per kilo. However they also offer an 'essentials' range bread flour for 90p per kilo.


There are much cheaper flours available. Lidl's strong bread flour, which is allegedly not bad, is around 50p per kilo and around 35p per kilo on special offer. Cooksmill plain flour, which I've never used but comes well rated, is 53p a kilo at Waitrose.  Lidl's plain flour is around 35p a kilo. 


I bake mainly with organic flours from producers with a strong ethics policy, but good deals can be had here on those, through local cooperatives. My nearest wholefood cooperative Daily Bread does 32kg of Shipton Mill Organic (No. 4, I think), for £24, pre-ordered and collected from the store. My maths is pretty ropy but I think that is around 75p per kilo for one of the country's leading organic bread flours. 


I feel fortunate because if I look about I can get a good range of flours. My main extravagances include Canadian extra strong bread flour for high gluten work and Alimonti Bio 00 from nico's home town at £1.45 per kg to mix with the Canadian. My favourite 'best' flour is Bacheldre Mill Stoneground Organic Rye. This latter is around £1.40 per kilo but boy is it a good flour and a little goes a long way :-)


 


Best wishes, Daisy_A


 

lummigirl's picture
lummigirl

...So I live on an Island in the Pacific Northwest - off of Washington State - and we (may be) about to lose our ferry service so getting into town to a store may suddenly become at best challenging -  so I am looking online to try to find a good organic flour (both unbleached white and whole wheat) to bake with as I make all of our baked goods.  In reading these posts I am seeing terms like "a strong bread baking flour" and refrences to adding gluten flour to regular flour.  So my questions are:


1) what is a reasonable price to pay for organic flour per pound - my plan is to try to order it shipped through Amazon's buyers clube "Prime" membership thingy


2) How do I make a "strong" flour for baking a good loaf - should I be adding gluton?!  I have "The Bread Bible" and some Julie Child books too but everyone here seems to know what they are talking about so any suggestions/recomendations would be appreciated.  


Right now I just get whole wheat organic flour and unbleached while flour at our local Co-op and pay .89 cents per pound of unbleached and .95 cents for whole wheat, medium grind.


 

kat.'s picture
kat.

I get my flour at a local store, WinCo. Unbleached A-P goes for $.31/lb, whole wheat for either $.28 or $.33 (can't recall for sure), and whole wheat bread flour is $.45/lb in their bulk food area. That's the only way I buy flour any more - is cheaper than bagged and, here, it comes from Bob's Red Mill most of the time.


 


kat.