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.