How to Bake Artisan Bread $0.68 per Loaf!
Sixty-eight cents. Yep, that is what it costs to bake a beautiful, crusty loaf of artisan style bread. Flour, yeast, and salt. These three ingredients plus water yields a masterpiece that would cost upwards of $6 at a decent bakery.
Not surprisingly, the global pandemic has spurred an interest in bread baking. Since people have extra time at home, don’t care to run out to the supermarket often, and are happy to save over $5 with every loaf…why not bake it yourself?
And not least of all, baking one’s own bread brings a sense of satisfaction, pride, and joy which is probably the best reason to bake at this challenging time.
How to Bake Artisan Bread
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + 2 to 3 T. more for sprinkling
- 1/4 t. active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water, warmed
This recipe requires a Covered Dutch Oven or Bread Pot. I like the Emile Henry Bread Pot because it is made to heat up while empty in the oven and the compact round shape creates a well formed, plump boule.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the water warmed to approximately 105°F. Mix until well combined then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 18-24 hours.
After 18-24 hours, remove the wrap and sprinkle the dough with flour. Lift the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and fold the dough over itself twice. Shape into a ball with the seam side down. Sprinkle with flour. Let the dough sit, covered with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Then start to heat the oven.
Place a covered Dutch Oven/Bread Pot in the cold oven. Then bring up the temperature to 450°F. When the oven temperature reaches 450°F immediately begin to bake the bread. Do not overheat the empty Dutch Oven.
Optional Step: Just before baking, lightly brush the dough surface with water. Sprinkle with seeds such as black and white sesame, sunflower, anise, poppy.
With a sharp knife or lame, cut an X or make artistic slashes in the dough ball.
Carefully remove the hot Dutch Oven from the oven and place the dough ball inside. Replace the lid immediately and put it right back in the oven. Don’t worry if the dough ball is not perfectly centered in the pot.
Bake the bread for 43 minutes then remove the lid. Bake an additional 5 -10 minutes to get a nicely browned exterior.
Remove bread to a cooling rack. Let the bread cool down at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Cost to Bake One Loaf of Artisan Bread
King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 5 lb. bag for $3.49
- 1 cup flour weighs 4.25 oz.
- 5 lb. bag = 80 oz.
- 8o / 4.25 = 18.82 cups per bag
- $3.49 / 18.82 = $0.18 cost per cup of flour
- 3 cups = $0.54
Flour for Floured Surface and Sprinkling
- 1 cup = $0.18
- 1 T. = $0.o125
- 3 T. = $0.04
Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast 0.75 oz. for $1.49
- 3 packets = 0.75 oz.
- 1 packet = 0.25 oz or 2.25 t.
- 1 packet = $0.50
- 1/4 t. of 2.25 = 11%
- $0.50 X 11% = $0.06
Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt 1 lb. for $1.89
- 1 lb. = 75.6 t.
- 1 t = $0.025
- 1 1/2 t. = $0.04
Total Cost $0.68
*Buying in bulk and buying generic brand flour can lower the cost well below 68 cents. We, however, like the high quality of King Arthur Flour
*A 5 lb. bag of flour will make 6 loaves of bread
*All ingredients purchased from Target
*Average cost of water is less than $0.01 per gallon, so water cost is negligible
*Cost of power to bake the bread not included
*During the pandemic, many supermarkets are short on flour and yeast, but we have still been able to find some here is Las Vegas. Also your little neighborhood market, local bakery, or restaurant might be able to sell to you…or perhaps your neighbor can lend you 3 cups of flour and a quarter teaspoon of yeast…like the good old days!
Cheese by Point Reyes Original Blue
“Blue Cheese & Green Olives” acrylic on canvas by Lori Lynn
Original recipe here