I always think about making my own bread, but as much as my 3 boys go through, I'm afraid my days would just be consumed with baking, and nothing else. Plus, with the time and energy involved, I'm not sure it would save any money. Still, there's nothing quite like a hot slice of bread straight from the oven, smeared with a little butter. So I buy our everyday bread, and make my own on special occasions or for meals that demand it, like spaghetti.
I saw a recipe on Pinterest for French bread that supposedly costs only 25 cents a loaf to make. I didn't figure out the costs for myself, but I can tell you it was easy enough even for a bread novice like me, and my family gobbled up both loaves in a hurry! Speaking of Pinterest, are you following Living the Country Life? We have several boards to follow, including one for recipes. Click here to join us on Pinterest!
Easy French bread
This recipe makes two large or three small loaves.
2-1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. salt
1/3 cup oil
6-7 cups flour (or more if needed)
1 egg, beaten
In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients, and let sit for about five minutes, or until bubbly. Then add the salt and oil and stir. Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is still soft, but firm. If it is still too sticky after 7 cups of flour, add more.
On a floured surface, knead the dough for five minutes, then return it to the bowl and place it in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water. This will keep the dough moist and help it rise. Check the dough every so often, and when it rises to the top of the bowl, punch it down. Do this two to five times, as time allows. I punched down the risen dough three times.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and difice into 2 or 3 equal portions, depending on how many loaves you want to make. Sprinkle corn meal on a greased cookie sheet. Form each dough section into a loaf and place on the cookie sheet. Slice diagonal slits into the top of each loaf, and brush with the let rise on the counter for about 30 minutes, until doubled. Brush each loaf with the beaten egg. If you prefer, you can brush with egg first and place the loaves in a 170-degree F. oven until they double in size.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Then do your best to fight off your family as they dive-bomb your delicious hot bread!