Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Homemade French Bread
I have always wanted to try making French Bread from scratch, and this recipe from La Fuji Mama looked so easy that I finally took on the challenge last night! (This recipe makes two loaves, but I halved it since we only needed one).
1 1/2 Tbsp. or 2 packets (1/4 oz./7 g each) dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 cups hot water
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
5 - 6 cups all-purpose flour
1. Dissolve yeast, warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small bowl.
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine hot water, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, salt, and oil. Add 3 cups of flour to the mixture in the large bowl/mixer and mix well. Stir in yeast mixture.
3. Add 2 - 3 cups more flour and mix until well blended. (At this point your dough will still be quite sticky). Leave in bowl and let rise for 1 hour, mixing a few strokes a couple of times during the hour.
4. Divide dough into 2 (or 3 if you want smaller loaves) pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface into the length desired then roll up length wise like a jelly roll.
5. Put on a greased cookie sheet, sealed side down, and tuck the ends under. Slash the top diagonally across the top every couple of inches with a sharp knife. Brush with egg white. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Let loaves rise 30 more minutes.
6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
Mmmmm...this smelled so great, I couldn't wait to dig in. It wasn't like your typical store-bought loaf of French bread. They tend to be chewy on the outside and really fluffy and insubstantial on the inside. I've always liked that fine, but I didn't know what I was missing! This French bread was thicker while still being very soft, and the crust was just slightly crispy. Totally divine! I put some butter and garlic on a few slices and toasted them up to go with our pasta for dinner.
I'm usually scared of making any bread that doesn't involve the use of my bread machine, but this was so quick, easy, and yummy. It was a little bit sticky, but if you make sure your surface is amply floured you should be fine. No kneading, literally 10 minutes to put together, and that wonderful homemade bread smell permeating your home. Who could find fault with that? Now excuse me while I go eat the rest of the loaf for breakfast. :)