Friday, September 17, 2010

First Attempt at Bread Making- French Bread 101

When I married my husband and starting moving all my stuff into his house (now our home) I found he had one cookbook! This surprised me...he actually had a cookbook! It is falling apart, held together at the binding by duct tape (it's a man's cookbook after all), and the pages are frayed. He used it for one recipe: biscuits. He makes the best biscuits! Whenever he makes them, he always quotes one of his favorite movies, Jeremiah Johnson, "I make damn good biscuits, boy!"
I haven't really read this cookbook until I was looking for a good yeast bread recipe recently. I wanted to teach myself to make French Bread and other yeast breads that are kneaded by hand. The first section in the book is "Loaves." It was just what I was looking for and had a picture tutorial.

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose Flour
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (115-120 degrees)
1 slightly beaten egg
1 TBS water

In a large mixer bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt.
Add warm water. Beat at a low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly.
Beat 3 minutes at a high speed.

Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in with a spoon. Turn out onto lightly floured surface.

Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.
8-10 minutes of kneading total.

Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turn it around in the bowl to grease all surfaces. Cover, let sit in a warm place until double. 1-1/4 hours.

Punch down, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Divide in half.

Cover and let rest for 10 mins.

Roll each half into a 15x12 inc rectangle. (Or roll entire ball of dough into large rectangle for single loaf)

Roll up tightly from the long side. Taper the ends.

Place seam side down on well greased baking sheet (sprinkled with cornmeal if desired).
Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
Use a paring knife to slice 1/2 inch slices diagonally down the center of each loaf.

Brush with egg white mixture to obtain that golden crust.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-40 minutes.
(The time varies depending on the size of the loaves and your oven so keep an eye on it.)
About half way through the baking time, you can brush a second coat of the egg white mixture on the loaves.

Remove from oven. Cool. Enjoy!

So our first loaves did not turn out as pretty as we had hoped but they tasted delicious!

(Photography courtesy of Jessica.)

1 comment:

  1. They may have looked a little weird...but they sure tasted good! Thanks for tackling that project with me - I love your adventurous spirit! :)