Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Suddenly I'm on a bread baking kick and this time, I decided to finally try my hand at French Bread. I have to admit, my loaf is not as pretty as I would have liked it to be. Somehow, it got a little crooked. I also realized that I should have made the slashes longer, if only for that great popped open effect on the top.
But, once it was sliced, it was a different story. The crust was thick, chewy, and crunchy, the bread inside was soft and fluffy, and boy did it ever taste good.
If I had known it was this easy to make, I would have done it long ago. Oh well, at least now I'll have a future full of yummy bread, and that's not a bad thing at all.
French Bread (adapted from Allrecipes)
6 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. warm water (110F)
1 tsp. sugar (I added this)
1 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
Combine the yeast with the 2 c. warm water and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 min. Combine 2 cups flour with the salt. Add this to the yeast mixture. Beat until well blended using a mixer or a spoon. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (I ended up using 5-5 1/2 c. flour total). Knead for about 8-10 min. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 min. Roll each half tightly into a large rectangle. Roll up from the long side. Moisten edges with water and seal. Taper ends.
Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 Tbsp. water. Brush onto the loaves. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, about 35-40 min.
With a very sharp knife, make 3-4 diagonal cuts about 1/4" deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 20 min. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15-20 min., or until bread tests done (mine took about 15 min.). If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
This recipe is linked to:
What's Cooking Wednesday