Batch Costing

The price of the ingredients in a loaf of bread is relatively inexpensive. Certainly, the ingredient cost in a loaf of lean dough, for example a baguette or ciabatta, is astonishingly modest. Of course this changes quickly when we add cheese, olives, or other costly ingredients. Whether a baker is making breads that cost a dime per pound of dough or a dollar, it is equally important that he or she knows how to compute the batch cost for a given quantity of dough.

An Example

For example, we make a batch of dough using the following weights:

Determine ingredient weight (in pounds)
ingredient weight cost total
flour 100
water 66
salt 2
yeast 1.5
total 169.5

Simple addition tells us that we are making 169.5 pounds of dough. We now consider the cost per pound of our ingredients:

Determine ingredient cost (per pound)
ingredient weight cost total
flour 100 $0.18
water 66 0
salt 2 $0.09
yeast 1.5 $0.56
total 169.5

Note that although we are considering the water to be free, it is still included in the dough weight. Now we calculate the entire batch cost:

Batch Cost = weight times cost
ingredient weight cost total
flour 100 x $0.18 = $18.00
water 66 x 0 = $0.00
salt 2 x $0.09 = $0.18
yeast 1.5 x $0.56 = $0.84
total 169.5 $19.02

We now know that it has cost us $19.02 in ingredients to make 169.5 pounds of dough. To determine the cost of one pound of dough, we divide the batch cost by the dough weight:

Batch Cost per pound of dough
ingredient cost weight total
total $19.02 ÷ 169.5 = $0.112

In this example, our batch cost is 11.2¢ per pound of dough.