Saturday, May 31, 2014

Favorite French Bread ($0.31 per loaf)

$0.31 per loaf          82% savings          save $20.55 yearly

HELLO, everyone!!! I'm BACK!

Life the last couple months has been... busy. That's a nice way to put it. When things get "busy", I tend to start dropping the ball on some things.

This blog was an unfortunate casualty, since it's more a hobby than anything else.

However, today it is officially resuscitated!!! 

YAY!!! Now... I have to admit the craziness isn't quite over. My family has a move staring us in the face the end of June. But, I'll do my darndest on this thing, and didn't want it to sit idle any longer. I've MISSED this!

Without further ado, I'm going to jump into today's (super-amazing-delicous) post:

Yesterday was my sister-in-law's birthday. 

Lacey and I are the same age, we each have four little monsters children who are about the same age, and our hubbies are the same age. She is a beautiful wife and mother, teaches yoga classes free of charge to whoever wants to learn, and has a sweet, serviceable attitude that I greatly admire. I love her to death, and give my brother a mental high-five for his good thinking every time I get to hang out with her. 

I happen to be fortunate enough to live a mere 12 minutes away from her.

Unfortunately, I happen to be on a tight budget.

Fortunately, I know that food made by someone else is one of the best gifts a girl (especially one with children) can get.

Fortunately, I know how to cook. 

Fortunately, homemade French Bread is definitely in my gift-giving budget.

...You can guess what she got for her birthday.

I love this french bread recipe so much! I could probably eat a whole loaf by myself. (Okay... I may have actually eaten a whole loaf by myself in the past. Zero regrets.) 

The recipe is pretty much no-fail, and tastes divine!... The only time it's NOT no-fail is when ingredients are left out... like yesterday's first attempt. More on that in a second.

The crust comes out super crisp, and crackles slightly upon cooling, resulting in a crisp and chewy exterior. The middle is pillowy soft and light, making for the perfect combination of textures that your mouth will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. 

So, yesterday morning found me happily baking in the kitchen. The Piano Guys were blaring on my mini old-school kitchen stereo. (Blaring in an attempt to drown out the sounds of "Mary had a Little Lamb" coming from a baby toy playing on repeat at the hands of my 2-year old...) The loaf came out looking beautiful.

But... something wasn't quite right. I cut off the end to taste, and was completely dismayed. 

I had forgotten the salt. Blech. Bland as could be. Apparently, I had left half of my brain back in bed.

The unsuitable bread was given an unceremonious trash can funeral.

Round two required Imagine Dragons and the other half of my brain, and went exactly as planned: 


Check it out:

My rolled up loaf ready to rise

 Post-rise, and ready for a quick egg wash and decorative slices

Ready for the oven...


This french bread comes out so pretty, and is perfect plain, spread with butter, made into Texas toast, french toast, used for french dip sandwiches, or french bread pizza. The price can't be beat, and neither can the taste.


Favorite French Bread
Printable Recipe

*Makes 1 loaf

1 cup luke-warm water
2 tsp. dry active yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. oil
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. oil (for coating dough)

*opt. 1 well-beaten egg + 1 Tbsp. water (brush on loaf before baking for a shiny exterior)

In a large bowl, or standing mixer, combine warm water, yeast, sugar, and oil. Let sit at least 10 minutes. Add the salt and 2 1/2 cups flour. Mix the ingredients to form a very slightly sticky ball of dough, adding more flour by Tbsp. if needed to create the right consistency. Mix for 8-10 minutes.

Using your hands, lightly coat the ball of dough with 1 tsp oil. Cover and let rise till doubled in size (1- 1/2 hours).

Punch down the dough, and knead it for 5 minutes.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Using your hands, flatten the dough into approximately a 12x6-inch rectangle. Starting with a long side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seams and ends together.

Cover and let rise 30 minutes on the baking sheet. Uncover, and if desired, lightly coat in an egg wash made from one well-beaten egg and 1 Tbsp water.  Using a very sharp knife or razor, gently make 1/4-inch deep slices on top of the loaf.  While the oven pre-heats, allow the dough to rise, uncovered, an additional 10 - 15 minutes.

Place a pan of water in a cold oven. Move a rack to the top level of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Once the oven has reached 450 degrees, place the loaf on the top rack, quickly pour 2 Tbsp. of cold water (or ice cubes) on the bottom of the oven, and shut the door. (The steam from the water in the pan, and the water on the bottom of the oven creates a crispy/chewy crust.)

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes. Crust will be golden brown, and hard to the touch.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack at least 5 minutes.

~ Savings ~ 

Cost Breakdown:
2 lb. dry active yeast - $4.68 = 48 T = $0.098/T = $0.065
25 lb. sugar - $13.94 = 945 T = $0.015/T = $0.005
1 gallon oil - $6.78 = 256 T = $0.026/T = $0.035
25 lb. flour - $7.73 = 94.5 C = $0.082/C = $0.205
26 oz. salt - $0.44 = 48 T = $0.009/T = $0.002
Total = $0.31

The Competitor:
Walmart Marketside French Bread Loaf = $1.68


"Over a Year" Scenario:
Buy 15 Marketside French Bread loaves = $25.20
Make 15 Favorite French Bread loaves = $4.65

Money Saved = $20.55


  1. 1 cup puke-warm water? bleck! Please be a typo lol

    1. Hahahaha!!! Oh my goodness! I just laughed so hard!

      Silly auto-correct. :) Thanks for pointing out "the green thing in my teeth" before it got too embarrassing, Kayla. :)

  2. Oh my goodness- This bread looks delicious! I have been keeping my eyes open for a French/Italian bread recipe and I think I finally found the one I am going to try out! Thank you for sharing your recipe and instructions. I like your blog! :)

  3. This bread looks easy and wonderful. I think I'll use part whole wheat flour, maybe 1 cup, just to up the fiber content. Can't wait to try this out.
    By the time you don't have to throw the unsalted bread out, just use it to make croutons by cutting into cubes, stir in some olive oil and garlic salt, put on pan in single layer, cook in oven until toasted to your personal preference.


    1. What a good idea, Jan! Wish I would have thought of that... :)

  4. In your "Over a Year" Scenario, your total on the homemade bread is correct, but the quantity is not (12 instead of 15). We're just pointing out the typos on your welcome back post! Sorry. :o) I am soooo happy to see you back typos and all!!!! Would you have a bread recipe with egg in it? I had a Jewish bread at the bakery and have been wanting to make it ever since.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out! I've fixed it to 15. :) I don't have a Jewish -type bread recipe, but have been wanting to try challah bread at some point. If I do, I'll be sure to post about it. :) Also, feel free to point out my typos anytime! I'm sure there are many more to come...

  5. Glad to see you back! I love all of your recipes and cost breakdown! Good luck with the move!! :)

  6. Woo Hoo - welcome back Andrea - so glad you have returned - you have been missed :)

  7. I made your recipe as is, first time in years making an all-white flour bread (I used unbleached flour) (I'm noted in our home for adding whole grains to everything!!). We had it with ham n' baby lima beans. Next day, took the leftover bread, cubed it, added olive oil and garlic salt just to coat, toasted it in oven. Then we made Prudent Homemaker's Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup (used home-bottled tomatoes) with it.......oh heavenly good. Told a friend about it, she asked for the french bread recipe, so I sent her your link.
    Saying thank you!!!!!!!

  8. First bread i have ever made and it is amazing!! I want to start making all our bread. Thank you for your blog it is awesome!

  9. We love French Baguette but will usually get a loaf from the bakery. Your baguette looks really good.

  10. I have never made my own bread before, and this was absolutely amazing! Thank you so much!


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