The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cost of flour

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jeffbellamy's picture
jeffbellamy

Cost of flour

I'm frugal. I've watched the cost of flour go up 50% in less than a year. I'm now paying 30¢ a pound (50 lb bag of enriched bleached bread flour from Costco $14.99)

Todays bread
 Basic unmeasured baking. 14 hour first rise. Baked in cast iron dutch oven 500 degrees 30 min covered. 8 minute 450 degrees uncovered.

Todays Sourdough Bread: Basic unmeasured baking. 14 hour first rise. Baked in cast iron dutch oven 500 degrees 30 min covered. 8 minute 450 degrees uncovered. My wife said she didn't want big wholes, but she wanted holes. I live to serve. I do love her so.



I was just wondering how much other people were paying for flour.



I also was wondering if everyone buys yeast in 1 or 2 pound packs or if anyone buys those little packets.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I've been reading people talking about flour prices in another thread:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6045/abc-news-wheat-prices-rise

As for yeast, I expect that all of us "loafers", except maybe for sourdough ultra-enthusiasts, buy the 1 or 2 pound packs.  I bought a 2-pound pack of active dry yeast from Smart & Final some time back; I keep it in the freezer.  It lasts a loo-o-o-ong time.

Rosalie

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

Jeff, I'm a bit surprised with each visit to the store.  I've watched the price of a 5lb. bag of flour spike and think, "It can't go any higher"...but that's only until the next visit to the grocers.

This week I have an inventory of 25 lbs., mixed.  (I use alot of bread flour, not so much AP).  My favored brand is KA, but over this past week I've relented and purchased a few 5lbs., of another brand. 

Yeast, now this is where I finally got smart!  I ordered a pound bag of it and have safely kept it in the fridge in an airtight container.  This was a bit before Thanksgiving and I still have about half a pound left. 

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I buy bread flour by the 50 pound bag for around the same price you pay at a grocer's outlet (Cash n' Carry). I bought a 5 lb bag of King Arthur's Whole Wheat flour today for $3.49 at the local grocery store (Fred Meyer). And I buy SAF Yeast by the pound for about $2.50 at Winco.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

A 10 kg bag of all-purpose flour is, at the moment, on sale for $10.00 in the local Loblaw's in Montreal.  I buy 10 kg. of unbleached all-purpose flour for $11.99, Robin Hood flour, which I use all the time for breads, cookies, cakes, etc.  I buy the 1 lb. packet of Fleischmann's yeast for $4.99 in the local fruit/health food store, and that's the cheapest I can find.

Eli's picture
Eli

I purchase 50 lb bag of Kyrol bread flour for 28.00 and I buy the IDY for 2.99 (1lb). Flour  was 23.00 back in November.

 

StephenJ's picture
StephenJ

5 lbs bags of King Arthur's All Purpose and Bread Flour are up an extra $2 a bag at my supermarket. Commercial bakeries and restaurants that bake, pizzerias, etc. are raising their prices accordingly. Baa Humbug!!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

That was the price increase at our local box store for KA Bread Flour (a 5# bag now selling for $3.12). I stocked up when it was $2.72 and have about 50# stashed. The price will probably continue to rise, so it may make sense to pick up a bag each time you shop.

When you do the math, however, baking your own bread is still cheaper than buying it.

mkelly27's picture
mkelly27

Lindy,   Check out GFS (Gordon Food Service) if you have one near you.  The have a decent AP flour from ConAgra, Seal of Minnesota, currently around $0.46 / lb  runs about 12% protein

_______________________________________________________

Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Thanks for that tip, Mkelly. I pass our GFS each day to and from work. I buy my SAF instant yeast there and had seen their bulk flour bags, but hesitated to purchase a large quantity of an unknown flour.

Have to run into town later and will see what's on their shelves today.

Edited to add that I did check GFS, but alas, the ConAgra is bleached flour. Actually, all the flours they sold were bleached.

 

edh's picture
edh

PaddyL,

I live on the border, in Maine, but a friend swears by the Robin Hood flour she gets in New Brunswick. Apparently it's substantially different from the Robin Hood on this side of the river.

I grew up with KA, so I've always used that, or more recently (until it got too expensive) an organic bread flour from Champlain Valley Millers. So my question for you is, can you notice a difference between Robin Hood and KA? I don't mind running across the border for groceries; used to do it all the time, back when the US dollar was worth something...

Thanks,

edh

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

...I know people, Canadians, who have and they say it doesn't come close to our Robin Hood flour.  Some people who go down to the States for lengthy summer holidays even go to the trouble of taking RH flour with them because the American flour doesn't measure up.  I've been told that our RH flour, all-purpose, is better for bread making than the KA bread flour, and I've read that Italians refer to the best flour as "Man-ee-to-ba", or Canadian flour.  The only American flour I've ever used is Bob's Red Mill white whole wheat or barley flour.

edh's picture
edh

Thanks for the response PaddyL,

Next time I go across the border I'm definitely going to pick up a bag of Robin Hood. I already go to the Atlantic Superstore to buy Kamut flour. It's interesting that it should be so different on either side of the border.

My friends who drink soda (I don't like it) all swear by the Canadian versions of their various favorites because they're made with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Go figure.

I'll do a comparison bake as soon as I get a chance.

Thanks,

edh

bakerincanada's picture
bakerincanada

Interesting reading.  I brought some American flour back from my trip south this year to see what is the difference.  Bread appears to be more "cakey" than when made with Canadian flour.  I too love Robin Hood flour.  I am most impressed with their best for bread line.  Best for Bread whole wheat is very strong and makes great bread.  It is a very coarse flour.  I do not care for the fine ground 100% whole wheat flour I bought in the States. Having said that I tried K.A. white whole wheat flour and really liked that for baked goods to boost the fibre.  It's not available here in Canada.  I am not sure whether there are any plans to make it retail.  Did you get any R.H. and do a comparison. Would be interested in your comparison.  Bakerincanada

The Garcia Girls's picture
The Garcia Girls

We're new to the site, but it looks great so far. Couldn't help but jump in here. We're a family of four (two adults, two 20yo), and we've made most of our food from scratch for close to 20 years now. We use about 40# of unbleached and about 10# whole-wheat flour per month. We used to use ConAgra, but then we tried Robin Hood (we live in Ohio, USA). What an amazing flour!

Until February 2008, we were paying $16.50/50# bag at an Amish bulk-food store. Two weeks later, it was up to $24.50. I said "wait". One week later, it was $27.50. I said "never". We tried ConAgra again. I said "let's bite the bullet and pay the $27!". Sorry, it had risen to $34.50. I said "no way". Two weeks later, it was up to $45.00. Boo-hoo.

We tried several other unbleached flours and decided that our baking quality had really taken a dump, so we tried WalMart (yuk) for better pricing on RH. Their price was $27.20/50# (10 5# bags), so we bought a few and thought we'd look around.

Then I found the King Arthur site and thought, "this is the company that we want to support" (April 2008). Went back to WalMart, where KA was selling for $2.72 (the same price I had rejected six weeks before as being "outrageous"). We bought one 5# bag and fell in love with the KA Unbleached White Flour! Ran back and bought 60# (all they had). We couldn't believe the difference in the KA products, compared even to the RH. I said "We're never using anything else!".

Two weeks later, we were zooming down the flour aisle at WalMart and stopped in our tracks: $3.98 for a 5# bag of KA! The RH sitting next to it was still at $2.72, so we bought everything that they had (only four bags, unfortunately). Thought that we'd finally settled on RH, until my husband pointed out that it was "bleached". Yah! I hadn't even looked, since our WM stocks all of its unbleached together. So, back to the drawing board. We can't get the yellow-bag unbleached RH near here (we live in rural central Ohio), unless we want to go back to the bulk-food store and pay $45. We just can't face going back to anything less than RH and KA, though. So, we'll probably have to cut something else out of the budget and go back to King Arthur.

For all it's worth, my daughters agree on the better quality of our food since switching to RH and KA. Sarah (the biscuit and dessert baker) says that KA makes THE BEST baking-powder products, bar none. She says that her buttermilk biscuits will NEVER be the same, if we can't get KA. She believes that KA and RH are equally wonderful in the desserts. Elizabeth (the bread baker) believes that KA and RH perform similarly, with KA slightly better. I love supporting an American company like King Arthur, and (as vegetarians) the protein content appeals to us. So, we'll probably try to make this work.

We buy our yeast in 1# vacuum-packed bags. It lasts about two months, and that's long enough (it definitely performs better in the beginning).

Thanks for getting this far. We're living, in mid-May 2008, with a 100% increase in our shopping budget over the last three months. I appreciate your letting me share.

Janis

"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:26-27

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

 If you or anyone else happen to have a bag of Robin Hood unbleached All Purpose around that you bought in the States (not on a trip to Canada), can you check the labels to see what the protein content is?

I'm curious if they modify the protein levels for US sales. In Canada, the off-the-shelf UAP is 13% protein (by law), labelled as 4g per 30g flour (1/4c)

--------
Paul

edh's picture
edh

rainbowz,

I'm still planning to try the Robin Hood flour, but with gas prices what they are, we haven't been making the trip up to the "big city" (the border crossing town) as often as we used to! Hopefully we'll make it up there next week.

I will take a look the next time I go to the grocery on this side of the border to see what Robin Hood lists for protein content here. My friend's Mum swears by the Canadian version; I've promised to bring a bag back if I go across before she does. In addition to gas prices (the border town is 1/2 hour away), crossing has become a real hassle; you can spend another 1/2 hour sitting in line if you hit it wrong!

edh

Janedo's picture
Janedo

In France, for a kilo of organic T65, I pay 1,27. It can be as high as 1,60. For regular flour it's about ,90 for good quality. We don't have bread flour like you except one brand called Francine farine à pain but it's got stuff in it, even yeast I think. I don't buy non-organic flour ever, for anything. So, it's pretty expensive!

BUT, a 500g loaf of organic sourdough costs over 3 euros and I make a 900g for less than a euro. That's what's important for me. I just hope prices don't continue going up like gas!

Jane 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Our local chain supermarket, Pick & Save, Has been holding the price on Harvest King Bread flour at $2.19 for 5# bags. It was $2.09 6 months ago and just made that one 10 cent trip north. I bought a 50# bag of All Trumps from a restaurant supply store for $30. 2 weeks ago.

I don't like the higher prices but I'm going to stick with the products I know and those that I can produce high quality products with. I don't see any point in buying cheaper flours that I have no experience with in large volumes. I stopped buying KA AP a long time ago after experimenting with Harvest King. I find it to be a reliable strong bread flour at about half or less of the cost of KA.

Using the All Trumps at $30 per 50#, I'm at about $.65 US for a 1 lb loaf or about $.70 for a 500 gram loaf. That doesn't count the oven heat costs which vary widely depending on what I'm doing that day. 

Eric

milwaukeecooking's picture
milwaukeecooking

I also live in Milwaukee.  What restaurant supply store did you buy your flour from? 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

KA bread flour is at $3.98 for 5# (was $2.12 in November). Harvest King bread flour is $2.64. These are the local Wal-Mart prices. All KA flours are $5 for 5# at the grocer's. I've switched to Harvest King for my starter. It was too painful to use KA and have to discard so much. I looked at the Robin Hood flours, but only bleached flour is offered.

I switched to Gold Medal AP from KA AP. Still trying to determine if that was a good choice for breads that call for AP. It does make pretty good chocolate chip cookies (what flour doesn't?).

I've had friends check prices at the downstate wholesale clubs, but they don't carry KA. We have two grocery stores in town; the other one carries flour I've never heard of. There are more grocery stores 65 miles away, but I figure it would cost me more to drive there than to pay the piper locally.

I'll stick with KA BF, but probably will experiment with the Harvest King if the prices continue to rise so fast.

Barefoot-Baker's picture
Barefoot-Baker

I live in Northern Florida, and my sources of flour are limited. I haven't found a source for bulk flour, so buy waht I use in 5# bags. For a number of years I've been using KA, and have been happy with the results. Today, I was in WalMart, and found the price for a 5# bag of KA bread flour was $3.98. Next to it was a flour I hadn't heard of - Gold Medal Harvest King. It was un-bromated, and un-bleached, and the protein content was the same as the KA. I bought a bag at $2.32, and brought it home to check it out.

I mixed 1/2 cup of both KA and the Harvest King with 1/4 cup of water, and checked the consistency of both. (More water absorption - higher gluten content). The Harvest King beat the KA hands down. The Harvest King also, FWIW, had a yellow color, compared to the KA pure white (so much for KA being "unbleached"). The final test will be the end product, but so far KA looks like a loser.
Tom

Richelle's picture
Richelle

the prices of flour and grains have gone up a lot too, in the past half year or so.

For a 5kg bag of white organic Spelt flour I pay 14,10 euro

For a 5kg bag of organic Spelt berries 11,12 euro

For a 5kg bag of organic wheat berries 6,24 euro

For a 5kg bag of organic rhye berries 6,14 berries

 A bag of 1kg ap (no doubt bleached, it doesn't say on the label, but not much of a choice here) 45 cts.

We love 100% speltbread but I mostly make mixed-flour breads now. For a kg of regular white bread flour (from local bakery) I now pay 80 eurocents compared to 60 say 6 months ago.

Prices have gone up like 50% in the last 8 or 9 months. The same at the grains-coop where we buy the food for our animals... not much fun for the professional goat and sheep breeders as the prices for their milk and meat haven't exactly been raised accordingly... and now with the very late spring-rains that have just ruined our (and all our neighbours') crop of hay for this year... hoping and praying for a good olive crop this winter and we will try to live even more self sufficiently... eating more of the goats that were born last winter and trying to keep up the selling of eggs, cheese, milk and rabbits...

I raised the prices of the bread I bake and sell as well, and as everyone is that thrilled with them, they understand completely and don't mind. I sell a 40% organic/60% normal bread flour loaf (in total I use just under 500 grams for a loaf)for 2,25 euros... not very expensive, don't you think?

Greetings from a - finally - sunny south of Spain.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

$7.09 for 5 pounds of KA All Purpose Flour today in NE Ohio. Not the Organic.  Gold Medal Unbleached was $2.99 for 5#. Hodgsdon's was around $4.00. I went to a bulk food store in Ohio and found KA Special (which is their bread flour) for about $2.50 for 5# and Wheat Montana for .99/lb.  The Wheat Montana was high but I didn't have to pay postage.                                                                                                                                                                                                              weavershouse

proth5's picture
proth5

Here in the Mile High city - at Whole Paycheck (which is now my "neighborhood" grocery store) - King Arthur AP flour is $2.79 for 5 pounds.

I am shocked at the prices I see here.

I guess I should stock up... Or be thankful I live in wheat country...

Happy Baking!

 

ElbaLiz's picture
ElbaLiz

<>I am entering toward retirement but still need to work, kids & college!  My passion is bread baking and I am thinking of selling bread out of my home on Fri. afternoons and Sat. mornings, similar to the Amish in my area.  Many, many friends have said they would be my customers...have costed out my bread, from basic white to grains, etc. Any suggestions?  I don't want to loose my love of the miracle of breadbaking.  Am thinking about weekly customers?  Baking a set number of loaves?  Delivery or pick-up?  I'm thinking of limiting it to 3-5 different types of breads.  I bake evrything from Jim Lahey's no-knead, grind my own berries, basic white bread...Any thoughts would be so cool and welcomed!

dale1nemo's picture
dale1nemo

I have always wondered how to figure the fuel costs of the oven, (per hour) Electric or Gas that needs to be figured into your costs ? I am sure a wood stove may be best if ya have your own trees and lots of energy.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The first thing you need to do is contact your local health department and find out if your kitchen needs to be certified.  There may be other legal requirements involved, as well as compliance with zoning laws, depending on where you live.  It's best to get those technicalities out of the way and avoid any potential legal problems.

ElbaLiz's picture
ElbaLiz

thanks, in the process of doing just that.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Other TFL members have gone down the path you're considering - you can read about their experiences in this section of the TFL forums.  There are a number of interesting threads.


In working on your income/expense margins, you have to remember to consider the elephant in the room:  the tax pig.


Hope it all works out for you!