The Cost of Bread

It’s been almost eighteen months since I have visited Borough Market. I was long overdue a visit so I took my daughter on Friday.  It’s the perfect place to spend time with a curious ten year old, with traders delighting in giving samples to an enthusiastic ten year old and answering her endless questions so thoroughly. I marvelled at the range of subjects discussed in a day.  She talked geography, history, maths, science and social studies all around the food.  Where does it come from? How is grown, why is organic? What kind of cow’s milk makes the cheese? What is pasteurization?  Why isn’t it in season?

We spent lots, buying fresh crab, cheese from Neals Yard, Chocolate, salami, mushrooms and sourdough bread.  We had the most fun in Neals Yard Dairy whilst we attempted to buy the every cheese in the shop.. it was cheese heaven.

Going to a farmers market is a really good way to spend day and the money spent is offset against the weekly food shop, however, I was really shocked at the price increases. I don’t really look at price that often .. but I have noticed that just the basics have increased significantly in the past year.  Butter has shot up, milk has increased but bread has really sky rocketed.  The cost of the beautiful hand made artisan loaves of bread really brought the rocketing food prices as they are now £4.20 per loaf.

neals yard Dairy

Of course I am the first person to say support your local bakery. Shop local, buy local and support local, but with five hungry mouths to feed a loaf of bread rarely sees the day out in our house, so £4.20 x 7 days a week works out at just short of £30 a week  – which we just wouldn’t be able afford to spend on bakery bought bread. We live (aside from our own pop up one) miles away from a decent bakery anyway  .. so my answer is to make my own artisan bread most days and treat ourselves to a bakery made one when we are nearby and artisan bakery.

If I compare costs there is not question that it is seriously cheaper to make your own loaf.  A 1.5kg bag of really good quality flour is about £1.60 pence and makes three really good size loaves, working out to be about 55p each.  That’s £3.85 per week for superb bread.   If you then compare that against a normal sliced brown loaf at £1.49 it’s a saving of £7 a week .. that saves £365 a year on bread.  It’s really worth making your own sourdough –  which means more money to spend on cheese


  1. says

    I’ve tried to make a sour dough starter twice, sadly both times unsuccessfully! Once I asked my husband to but a loaf of bread from Borough market, he couldn’t bring himself to part with £3 for a loaf, obviously we are talking some time ago! Great post Vanessa, you are so right it’s so much cheaper to make your own!

  2. Andrew Riley says

    Hi Vanessa can you advise me I live in a remote location on the Isle of Seil by Oban Argyll and am trying to start an artisan Bread Bakery from Home an 1890’s Slate cottage with the most basic equipment. I’m on a government scheme Enterprise Allowance. The locals like my breads but won’t buy any I’ve done 2 agricultural shows and sold out both in 2 hours despite working 24 hours beforeeach show to make fresh loaves. The demand is for unusual breads so I’m creating Breads eg a super sized Scottish Bap like Roll with a cross shaped top and made of a mix of Barley Rye and strong White Organics for all my Breads eg Multi-seeded bun round shaped loaf ect. my problem is getting decent Flour delivered and how to build up a regular clientel. I managed to get sponsored to do Breadmatters “Baking for a living course” but it doesn’t seem relevant to this rural area any tips? please. I’m trying to wow customers eg Tibetan Barley Bread unyeasted as unusual. I went to a famous Scottish Artisan Brewery and made spent grain bread successfully and was then told by local EHO she wouldn’t allow it to be sold because of a possible risk of toxins!
    many thanks for any guidance Andrew to be Seil Bread

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