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The Price of Bread
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SWISS_CHEF



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:21 pm    Post subject: The Price of Bread Reply with quote

When I'm in France I see the prices of specialty breads and sometimes I'm shocked... 5 euros a kilo is normal for "special" loaves. Baguettes are always cheap in France though. Germany I think is a real bargain. I bought this 1 kilo sourdough wholeweat bread for 79 euro cents!


What do you get for the money in your local shop?
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in Alabama, a 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) loaf of bread at a bakery would cost about $3-$4 USD.

I spent time in Budapest in 2003 and was able to buy 1 kilo loaves of fresh bread at the supermarket for the equivalent of about $0.70 USD. Now that was a bargain!

Bread and wheat-based products and oats are about my favorite things.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really is amazing to me what we pay for good bread when the ingredients are so available and so cheap. When I hear people intimidated by using yeast I always think "what's at stake here? If it doesn't work you've wasted 50ยข worth of ingredients. And, if you're creative, you'll call it flatbread or hearty crackers and enjoy it with soup!"

With good, cheap breadmaking machines and tons of books available, I don't know why people don't bake bread regularly. I don't think they give themselves an opportunity to find out what happens once you make a pre-ferment and learn to coordinate the use of a breadmachine, a pre-ferment, a fridge, an oven stone and your own household oven!

I'd like to say all my breads are as gorgeous as Ed's. On my best days they can be, but even on my worst bread-making days, I have that heavenly smell in the air and the sound of a crunchy crust for under a dollar and probably not more than an hour of time actually spent manipulating ingredients/dough.
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wasabi



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 32
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: The Price of Bread Reply with quote

I have wondered about the price of good bread. But where I live, I doubt there has ever really been the standard of quality crusty loaves at a decent price. There's a huge Wonder Bread factory/distribution center in the city and a plethora of regional bakeries producing the bland characters-less sponges wrapped in plastic. They taste like plastic too.

A few bakeries have popped up actually offering artisan breads. I reckon it is the comparative low-yield (mechanization is a wonder) and the time investment that has these talented local bakers charging more to keep up with the mass producers. Sure it costs more, but I really have no alternative, save baking myself which i do from time to time, but really i don't come close to my favorite place, Crumb Brothers, that uses organic local wheat and euro techniques.

so i consider it my small luxury. a (tasty) way to protest mass production of my daily bread...
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wasabi, you make an excellent point! The people who bring us high-quality bread make a big commitment of labor and capital. They handle 100s of pounds of dough and often work through the night so that we have bread. They perform a valuable service and are certainly entitled to a reward for their labors and capital risk. I hadn't addressed that and it's true!

Still, at least for me, it's more than worth the trouble to bake bread. And I think people should give themselves an experience and give it a try. ...if only to appreciate what the artisan bakers are doing on our behalf!
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to bake bread frequently, but stopped a couple of years ago when I quit eating it as much. I love the process, though, and never had a bread machine for that reason. Proofing the yeast, combining it with part of the flour to make sponge, then adding the rest of the flour, kneading, rising, and then tearing off a chunk from a freshly baked, warm loaf and spreading it with butter -- a little heaven on earth!

A loaf of mass-produced wheatberry bread here is over $2 US. I'd rather spend my money on a bigger, tastier, textured loaf of artisanal multigrain from Central Market even though it's more expensive, and eat a bit less of it.

Life is too short to eat poor or mediocre bread!
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wasabi



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 32
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, very true, going through the process you definitely appreciate the skill of bakers. I love working with the dough when i can...though i admit that sometimes it doesn't come out edible Smile

this post has really inspired me...i think i will start a dough tonight...

happy eating everyone
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lee_loreya



Joined: 30 Nov 2004
Posts: 30
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape>>> did you buy that in a bakery? because i'm not used to see many real french-type bakeries in budapest. What I love is the "zsemle" and the "kifli" those little round and crescent shaped breads that some buy by the dozen at the supermarket. They're usually packed in a big box along with the tiny appfel strudels and poppy seed cakes and they cost around 18 forint which is too low a price to convert (1 euro = 250 ft)

In france I think that one has to stroll around a big city for at least a week before finding a good bakery because there are so many. Usually people tend to be fooled by some places that look very cosy and very "artisanal" and breads are displayed in an elegant way, you can smell them from the street. I've been disappointed by many of these places: their baguette was as dry as polystyrene.
So I'd rather take a peek in some small, not very stylish bakeries where there are one or two dried out croissant laying on the counter and one or two specialty loaves. And I am quite surprised to discover amazing breads, with a thick but not hard crust and the inside moist and airy.
Then of course you got the big franchises such as Paul where you pay 0,86 cents for a baguette twice as thinner as the others. The Banette brand, however, offers really good bread with a sort of nutty flavor.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At home in Seattle I paid $2.99 for a rosemary diamante. Out here a decent loaf of ciabatta costs $2.00 at Trader Joe's.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am fortunate to have a small family bakery just on my corner out in the country. Jim and Jen don't do anything particularly "artisanal" but they turn out good, fresh edible whole wheat, 12 grain and 9 grain breads at $3 a loaf.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lee_loreya wrote:
Sarape>>> did you buy that in a bakery? because i'm not used to see many real french-type bakeries in budapest.


You are correct. I was buying fresh bread in Budapest in the local supermarkets: Sparks or Match or Kiaser. I didn't claim that it was real French bread. But, it was very good and it sure beat most of the breads you find in the US. The Hungarians love their bread, so I assume this bread that they are all buying from the supermarkets is pretty good.

Ah Budapest -- what a lovely city! Wish I had a chance to return. And the Budapest opera house had tickets for about $4 USD! Wonderful.
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cmschma



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Culver City, CA & Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're really desperate for good bread, check out this site:

www.zingermans.com

One of my best friends enrolled me in their bread of the month club as a Christmas present! That's a good friend!!!

Yes, their bread is pricey because they'll ship it to you, but on some days, it's just worth it.

I went to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Zingermans is located. Their sandwiches justify a trip if you're in the area. Otherwise, check out some of the other products you can get from their catalogue. If you're having trouble finding some good ingredients, you might find them there.

Also, their book is a good read for any food lover: Zingermans Guide to Good Eating
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Ana



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are lucky here in Ottawa. There are several bakeries and even our largest supermarket, Loblaws has a bakery inside and offer fresh bread along with the pre-packaged stuff. For me, nothing can compare to the Portuguese bread. We have several Portuguese bakeries in the area. Prices are about Can$2.99 for a large loaf.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ana. Where do you get your Portugese bread? Is it from the bakery in the west end? And I love the ACE baguettes from Loblaws!
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Ana



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David
For me the best Portuguese Bakery is the Nelson Bakery on Nelson and Clarence. I specially like the larger buns, oblong shaped and not too high. They have plenty of other breads in several tastes and textures, but those buns are tipically Portuguese, not just the format but also the dough.
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