Friday, January 21, 2011

French Bread

This was the first bread I made that was 100% all-purpose white flour, no whole wheat. I felt kinda naughty making since white bread seems to get such a bad rap. Honestly, it was a little bland after all the mix ins and breads with toppings I have been making. I think whole wheat adds some flavor too.
I enjoyed a few warm slices with some peach rosemary jam I made at the end of this past summer. It seemed like a French thing to do.

Peach Rosemary Jam in the making.

That definitely helped. I think this would make great sub rolls (for the upcoming superbowl?) or really good garlic bread. It can't really stand on its own. It needs accouterments.
This recipe came from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

I'm not sure if the recipe is in the current edition, but its a good, fairly quick, basic french bread.

I like how this cook book opens flat.

French Bread 
(I halved the recipe again.)

2 1/4 t active dry yeast (1 package)
1 t salt
2 1/2- 3 c flour
1 c warm water (120˚-130˚ F)
1 eggs white with a splash of water

Mix yeast, 1 c flour and salt in a large bowl.  Add warm water. Beat for 3 min. Stir in as much additional flour as you can with a wooden spoon. (I could do one cup.) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead in additional flour as needed till smooth and elastic (8-10 min).

Form dough into a ball and turn in an oil coated bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot till doubled (about 1 hr).

Punch dough down. Let rest for 10 min. Roll dough out into a 10x15 inch rectangle. Roll up dough on the long edge to form the loaf. Seal seam and taper ends. Put on a greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Coat with egg wash (I left a little portion without any for one of my vegan friends.) Let rise again till almost doubled (30-45 min). Cut some diagonal slits in the dough.

I cut a little dotted line on the right end so I would remember the vegan part.
Bake in a 350˚ oven for 20 min. Re-coat with egg wash and bake for 15-20 more minutes till golden. 

Simple French Bread.

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