I used to use a bread maker all the time (kids are intolerant to wheat so it's no longer in use!). It used to cost me £1.50 for decent bread flour which would make 3 loaves. I figured out by the time I added sugar, yeast, salt and oil, it came to around £2 for 3 loaves, (£2.50 if I made granary). I had a cusinart bread machine which was around £100, but it made fantastic bread. I also used it to m-ake rolls, brioche and naan bread. The bread was far superior to a shop bought pre-packed loaf, it really was as good as from a good baker and alot cheaper. You could also make more artisan loaves (foccaccias and seeded loaves much cheaper). The first couple of weeks can be bit hit and miss whilst you get used to the machine but once you master it it's fantastic and you know exactly what you are eating (just check the ingredients list of pre-packaged bread).
My machine was a gift, so I don't take that into account. But a bag of strong flour costs about the same as the loaves I bought, but makes 4 loaves, so ingredients about a third the price of loaf (adding a little for a splash of oil, spoonful of sugar etc). I haven't done the maths on the electricity, but surely it can't be more than two thirds of the price of a loaf?
I bought a Cookworks breadmaker from Argos two weeks ago, it cost £36. It makes the perfect loaf every time. Yes, a loaf isn't huge and doesn't last long but it is so much nicer than shop bought bread.
I don't know, but I know it's more expensive than buying bread- unless you only ever buy posh artisan bread, particularly if you are making sandwiches. You don't get many slices out of a bread machine loaf. And another thing, the smell is so good people want to eat it as soon as it comes out!
It's fun to use to make special bread- but I don't think it's economical for every day use, once you've factored in buying the machine and the occasional failure. I buy for lunchbox sandwiches and make for weekends, or to go with soup.
I sometimes bake my own bread rolls but find the whole proving business a pain and rarely have time so am thinking of investing in a machine.
Has anyone already done the maths and would they mind sharing it with me? Roughly how much does a loaf cost if you're using a machine? I'm thinking cost of ingredients plus electricity I suppose, though I appreciate there'll be no easy answer. We get through two loaves of bread a week at the moment, plus some rolls, which costs us a total of about £2.50 from Aldi. Could I do the same in a machine for less?