Thursday, January 10, 2008

.french bread.

I have a feeling I am eventually going to need to create a directory for all these recipes I'm posting. Things are bound to get lost!

Tonight we're having pasta carbonara w/ french bread and salad. (I'll post the pasta recipe in the morning.) As a baker, I really do try to make my own breads. We buy loaf bread for sandwiches because we go through too much and with a new baby? Forgetaboutit.

Today I made a nice french loaf for our dinner. Homemade is so much better than store-bought because it's not full of unnecessary additives. If you have 3 hours, I highly encourage you to try out this easy recipe!

FRENCH BREAD (makes 1 loaf)

1 cup warm water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl for 10 minutes and yeast is nice and bubbly.

NOTE: Yeast loves sugar and feeds off it... so don't omit this from the recipe.

Using a dough hook attachment, add 1 cup bread flour. At this time, add 1/2 tsp salt. Continue adding flour 1/2 cupfuls at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides and bottom and forms a ball. Knead on a floured surface, working in a little flour until dough is a nice firm ball. Spray mixing bowl with Pam and put dough back in it. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.

NOTE: Never put the salt in direct contact with your yeast. Unlike sugar, salt will KILL your yeast. Not a good thing folks. :)

After dough has risen, punch it down and remove from bowl. Knead for another minute, being careful not to work in too much flour. Now it's time to shape. You can either shape your loaf by hand or with a rolling pin. I use a rolling pin. Don't roll it too much. Then roll it into a loaf shape.

Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and sprinkle the diagonal with cornmeal. Lay french bread on top of the cornmeal. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

NOTE: Don't let this over-rise otherwise when you go to brush with eggwash and bake, it will have too much air and will collapse on itself leaving you with a very flat loaf of bread.

Preheat your oven to 425*F. Put your oven rack as low as it will go. When the dough has doubled, cut three diagonal slashes across the top (we call it "scoring"), brush with eggwash (1 egg and a little water mixed in), and put into well heated oven. Throw a cup of water directly onto the bottom of the oven and close the door. 15 minutes later, turn the oven down to 350* and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from pan onto cooling rack.

Your bread should have a nice crisp crust and will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.


Anonymous said...

sounds so yummy!!! especially for a carb freak like me :-)

lisa said...

I'm excited about your new blog! I forsee another Pioneer Woman!
Pink Mochas

Anonymous said...

I've got the dough rising from this recipe right now. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

YUM. I've made 3 loaves of your french bread and man were they good. I'll definitely make it again.

Colleen said...

i have no idea why, but i am hesitant to throw the cup of water on the bottom of the oven. i have an electric oven...any words of caution/advice? or am i just being weird?


ps-love the blog...every single recipe i have used has been fabulous!

Suzanne said...

Colleen, I've done the water on the bottom numerous times and have never had a problem. It evaporates almost instantaneously so it doesn't sit long, if at all.

If you just aren't convinced, then put a shallow pan of water on a rack towards the top when you turn your oven on. This will introduce moisture in the oven.