Here's How Expensive Bread Has Become After Inflation

If you visit the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, you might come across a mastaba tomb that features a stone slab depicting its deceased subject sitting before a table lined with slices of bread. The carving, which dates back to 2543-2435 BC, is one of the earliest markers of humans turning yeast into fluffy pillows of carb-loaded goodness. Archeologists have even found earlier remnants of 5,000-year-old flatbread, which may be the oldest bread recipe in the world, in Jordan's Black Desert (per BBC).

Bread remains an essential part of the human diet, whether it's made with whole grains and wheat or simply with water, yeast, flour, and salt, like in New York City baker Jim Lahey's famous No-Knead recipe. Unfortunately, the concept of rent control on foodstuffs doesn't apply during an inflation crisis, even for one of the world's most longstanding tenants. Here's how much you can expect to pay for a loaf right now. 

Blame it on the flour

According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of bread has seen quite a bit of fluctuation since 2019. It saw its lowest price in June of that year at an average of $1.90 per pound, then climbed steadily before jacking up dramatically in the spring of 2020. 

Unless you've blocked it out of your memory, you might recall that those months, which coincided with the beginning of the pandemic, inspired home-dwellers across the country to throw themselves into bread-making. Suddenly, bags of all-purpose flour and packets of instant yeast were as hard to find as toilet paper at the grocery store (via Wired). As Eater notes, King Arthur Flour's entire stockpile was wiped out in just 10 days, though it quickly recovered.

Bakeries large and small were also affected by the flour shortage (which, according to Eater, wasn't so much of a product depletion as it was a labor shortage). As flour prices climb back up due to the war in Ukraine, it's costing more for retailers to churn out loafs of bread. In June of 2022, the average price of a pound of bread reached a high point, at $2.23. If you're trying to save some cash and you have a knack for baking, you might want to try a bread recipe that uses a non-wheat flour.