Saturday, January 9, 2010

French Bread

...AKA "I wish I could make bread look pretty."

I love to make bread. It just never turns out pretty.

Take this french bread, for example. Tastes? AMAZING. Looks? Like a 4-year-old made it. Possibly a blind four year old. With his feet.

Oh well, at least it tastes good.

French Bread
(Better Homes & Gardens)

5 1/2-6 Cup flour
4 1/2 Teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon water

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 c flour, the yeast, and salt. Add the 2 c warm water to the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8-10 min). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease dough surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest 10 min. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet; sprinkle greased basksign sheet with cornmeal.
Roll each dough half into a 15x10 rectangle. Tightly roll up, starting from a long side; seal well. If desired, pinch and slightly pull ends to taper them. Place shaped dough, seam sides down, on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together egg white and the 1 T water. Brush some of the egg white mixture over loaf tops. Let rise until nearly double in size (35-45 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375. Using a sharp knife, make 3-4 diagonal cuts about 1/4" deep across each loaf top. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush again with some of the egg white mixture. Continue baking for 15-20 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Serves: 28
Serving Size: 1 slice
Yields: 2 loaves (28 slices)
Total Time: 3 hrs

I think my biggest problem this time was that the cuts were not deep enough... so it cracked. :(

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