bagel cost

Sitting down to write this post actually required a lot of math first.  I majored in Creative Writing, so I hope you appreciate my sacrifice.

Once in awhile I get the urge to figure out just how thrifty it is (or if it is) for me to bake things at home instead of buying them.  I especially got this urge lately because to make bagels I bought a jar of barley malt syrup that seemed terribly expensive.  When you break it down to cost per batch of bagels, though, it isn’t so bad.

To do these calculations, I looked at the price for Sarah Lee bagels at the grocery store I usually shop at, and broke it down both by cost per bagel and cost per ounce, to account for the difference in size between my bagels and storebought bagels.

The recipe I used was Bruce Ezzell’s bagel recipe, which is my current favorite.

Some of the ingredient prices reflect what I actually paid on a recent shopping trip, and some of them I looked up on Wal-Mart’s website for a general estimate (and in the case of the barley malt syrup, Amazon).

Sarah Lee bagels: 6 count package, 20 oz, $ 4.39

This breaks down to: 73 cents per bagel and 22 cents per oz.

Homemade bagels:

1 tablespoon honey: $ 0.13

1 tablespoon barley malt syrup: $ 0.18

3 g yeast: $ 0.15 (I buy it in a jar, which is much cheaper than packets)

baking soda: $ 0.02 (hardly worth counting)

kosher salt: $ 0.07 (also hardly worth counting)

bread flour: $ 1.05

whole wheat flour: $ 0.28

Grand total: $1.88

This yields 16 bagels that weigh about 43 oz, which is 12 cents per bagel, and 4 cents per oz.

Which means that making bagels is over 5 times cheaper than buying them at the store, although making them takes awhile, and the savings wouldn’t make a very good hourly wage.  There is no comparison in the taste department, though.  Homemade bagels definitely  win there.