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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Make Country French Bread

Wait till you see this, folks. Frugal Son has spent the last few days putting together a video featuring the bread making prowess of Mr. Frugal Scholar. Mr. FS has been baking this bread for about thirty years. Perhaps in other posts I will tell some of the many bread anecdotes we have accumulated over the years. The original recipe came from Bernard Clayton's The Breads of France. It is modeled on the famous Poilane bread of Paris. However, I think M. Poilane would be shocked to see powdered milk in the sourdough starter.

Right now, let me link this to the ostensible topic of this blog: frugality. Bonnie McCullough, who wrote a wonderful book on organizing that includes a section on finances, remarks that baking bread will save a family at least $1.00 per day per family member on food. This is not because of the money you save on the bread. This is because when you eat good bread, you're not eating other stuff.

A note from Frugal Son:

Having grown up with my dad's bread readily and constantly available, I think it was easy for me to take it for granted and even occasionally wish we could have Bunny Bread like a normal family. I was always surprised and slightly amused by my friends' reactions to the bread. They would scarf down as much as they could get their hands on. Once I even paid a friend to take care of my sister's bird in loaves of bread! My bread renaissance came about after I left home at 16 to go to my beloved residential high school. While the school offered many things, delicious bread was not one of them. Maybe I was being punished by some Bread Deity for all my youthful Bunny Bread desires. Upon returning home I understood how my friends felt and I could not keep my hands off the bread. I even enjoyed eating it plain, something which I would never have done before.

This bread is as versatile as it is tasty. A toasted slice rubbed with raw garlic and adorned with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt makes a delicious snack which we have creatively named "Spicy Bread." Rubbing a slice with butter and a drizzle of honey makes a perfect late night sweet treat. Or you can simply use it as an accompaniment to your eggs at breakfast or soup for dinner. Try out the recipe--which is a lot less intimidating in real life than it looks on paper--and see if you fall in loave with this bread (sorry I couldn't resist).

The bread recipe can be found here.

Baking Bread: The Frugal Scholar Blog from SLF on Vimeo.


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Awwwww....what a sweet thing to say about your father. You must be realy proud of Frugal Son!!Isn't knowing that you did something that your kiddos appreciate worth it all??
Well......kinda, lol.

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Chance said...

OMG -- that bread looks perfect. I can't wait to try some. I'm a science geek, I panic with no recipes, so I am grateful that you included proportions on the website.

But how did you know? Every time I started to panic, you said in a reassuring voice "the recipe is on the website". THe video quality is great too with good production values -- what were you shooting with? And thank you for using vimeo instead of you tube, easier on the eyes. Can you tell -- I'm totally impressed, thank you.

Duchesse said...

Very cool! Bravo!
My mother made all our bread. I remember her saying "I have to get home and punch down my bread!"

Le Duc made all of ours for 3 years or so but we didn't save a penny with all we ate and gave away (and we still ate as much other food.) We live between two great French bakeries so we've been buying but this video could set us back on the path.

Have you ever tried that bread that you bake in a dutch oven? Think its a Mark Bittman recipe.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Reggie--He is a wonderful kid, but the great thing about blogs is that all the irritating stuff is left out!

@Chance--Thanks and thanks for linking. Hope you got all your work done.

@Duchesse--We started baking BECAUSE we couldn't buy good bread. I will make that dutch oven bread if Mr. FS ever gives up his baking. I haven't tried yet because you have to take off the knob of the Le Creuset pot (or it will melt). Apparently, people were stealing the knobs from stores after trying the recipe!

Mary said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I'm going to give it a try!

sallymandy said...

This was a great video! That bread looks incredible, too.... Congratulations, all of this is very high quality.

I love that you have your FS and FH in on the act for your blog.


Frugal Scholar said...

@sallymandy--Thanks! Truly, we are a frugal family. (Though I am the only one who's pathologically frugal.)