Can you bake your own white loaf for 47p?

Sliced white bread

David Cameron doesn't know the price of a value loaf from Tesco because he bakes his own bread. Is his way cheaper, asks Denise Winterman.

Asked the cost of a "value sliced white bread loaf at Tesco this morning", Prime Minister David Cameron said he didn't know because he makes his own bread in his £100 breadmaker using flour costing about £4.40 for a 1.5kg bag.

But is the prime minister on to something? If you have a breadmaker and all the basic ingredients at home, can you make a white loaf for 47p or less?

Seeing as it's a Tesco value loaf in question, let's assume all your ingredients have come from Tesco and are the cheapest available.

The workings out

  • Tesco Strong White Bread Flour £0.53 a kg - 30p
  • Tesco Fast Action Dried Yeast £11.61 a kg - 6p
  • Tesco Table Salt £0.39 a kg - 0.4p
  • Tesco Organic Rapeseed Oil £0.30p a 100ml - 6p

Figures calculated to the nearest penny - apart from salt

Tom Herbert is a fifth generation baker who won Young Baker of the Year and is one half of Channel Four's Fabulous Baker Boys. He says his recipe for a classic white loaf is the most downloaded off his website. It also weighs roughly 800g, the same as the sliced white in question.

According to the recipe you need 560g of strong white flour, 10g of salt (Herbert specifies sea salt but you only have Tesco's cheaper table salt), 5g of dried yeast, 20ml of rapeseed oil and 300ml of warm water.

So does it come in at under 47p? Yes, 42.4p in fact, with the prices of the ingredients (apart from salt) calculated to the nearest penny.

The taste, smell and quality of the homemade loaf will be "incomparable" to the shop-bought one, says Herbert.

"You'll also feel great having made something with your own hands and your home will smell lovely."

An earlier version of this story incorrectly calculated this recipe using 200ml of oil instead of 20ml.

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