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Saturday, September 17, 2011

FRENCH BREAD

Spaghetti for dinner - nothing but a loaf of sandwich bread in the house - no desire to go to the store.  What's a woman to do?  Well, she quickly looks for online bread recipes that don't look too challenging and don't take half a day to make.  I decided to make my first attempt at baking a loaf of French Bread.  The recipe looked quite similar to pizza dough in my humble opinion...just put together differently.  This would also give me the opportunity to try out my new big old package of Instant Yeast that I purchased for less than half the price of Active Dry Yeast.  I was feeling brave...and figured if it flopped, I was home alone, no one was expecting homemade bread, and what would be would be...the old Que Sera Sera!

Every darn recipe I found was for 2 loaves...I didn't have the time nor desire to have two loaves of bread hanging around...I'd already spent part of the day making Madeleines and I was splurging with more white flour with this recipe...so I was brave and just halved the recipe down the middle (that doesn't always work when baking).

The result?  Tasted great - looked "rustic"....or as the teen said "Mom, its skin split"...uh, thanks, I hadn't noticed ;-p

Anyway, we managed to finish off half the loaf between us at dinner so I must have done something right.  The crust was chewy and the insides just the way you want it - not too soft and not too hard...Goldilocks would say "jussst right"!

Here's how I did it.

FRENCH BREAD
adapted from www.breadworld.com

Ingredients:

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus extra for rising bowl
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups flour
Cornmeal for pan
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water - egg wash

Method:

In bowl of stand mixer, with dough hook attached, add warm water, oil, salt, yeast, and flour.  Out of habit I sprinkled the yeast on the water...but you apparently don't have to do that with instant yeast.  No proofing required.
Allow stand mixer to knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5-6 minutes is how long mine took).  If you are doing it by hand then 6 to 8 minutes of kneading recommended on a floured surface.
Place in an oiled bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm draft free place until doubled in size.  Anywhere form 30 to 45 minutes.  I left mine for an hour because I was busy.  It was more than doubled.

Punch dough down.  On floured surface, roll to 15x10 inch oval.  Roll up along the long side to make a loaf.  Pinch seams and ends to seal; taper ends.

Place seam side down on large greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (I used a Baking Mat and sprinkled corn meal on it).  Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in warm draft free place until doubled in size - about 30 to 45 minutes.
On the sheet and ready to rise

Wasn't really double but it looked right to me - fat and fluffy

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brush loaf with egg wash.  With a sharp knife, make some diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep on top of loaf. 

Bake for about 25 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped with a wooden spoon.  Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack.

I guess this is not a bad first attempt.  I loved it.  The teen said the slices that I toasted for garlic bread to go with the spaghetti were too hard on the outside for his tastes...but that the inside was great.  Bless his heart, the boy just doesn't like crunchy food.  I usually slice and toast Bolillos for garlic bread - they are very soft and airy...wonder if I could make those???  I always buy them at HEB and they are very cheap...but they've started putting them in a big self-service bin and all I can imagine is the tons of people opening the bin, leaning over and potentially touching my food.  Eek.  I'll find a recipe!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

1 comment:

  1. Haha...don't you love how teens don't hold back with their comments? Love the rustic look...and I love a crusty bread :)

    ReplyDelete

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