Tuesday, August 31, 2010

French Bread - No Cheating, No Breadmakers!

What? What do you mean you don't have 12 hours to make a few loaves of bread? You don't need to sit and WATCH it rise, because much like the old water boiling trick, it wont if you watch it! 

This is a great thing to make with the kids on a weekend where you are around the house but doing other things because there is a lot of "rise time" with this recipe but takes no time to prepare.  They will love mixing it as it sticks to their fingers and if they are anything like me when I was a kid I LOVED the punching the dough part!!  Oh wait, I still do ;) so if you don't have kids....well, you get to have ALL the fun!
Best part of all of this....oh you guessed it, your house will smell fantabulous!  I remember walking in and out of bakeries in Montreal as a kid wishing I could smell that smell in my house forever - bottle that up and bring it home...hey Yankee Candle Company...you should make THAT as a new scent!
But honestly, who can resist a hot fresh loaf of bread dripping with butter??? Reeled you in on that one didn't I?  My mouth is watering too.

French Bread - makes 2 large loaves

2 packages dry yeast (or  5 teaspoons)
2-1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
6 cups all purpose flour (approximately)
1-1/2 tsp. salt

Place warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes until yeast dissolves and starts to bubble. Stir in 2 cups flour and salt. Cover and let rise for 1/2 hour.
Slowly stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes. You may need to add a bit of flour as you go so that its not super sticky when you are kneading.
Clean the large mixing bowl, grease it with some olive oil, and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it in the bowl so the dough is greased (this prevents the top from cracking as it rises).

Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2-1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk. I usually put it in the oven especially if your air conditioning is on!
Now, the best part!!  With your fist, punch down the dough. (releases some aggression)
Divide in half and place one half on a lightly floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 12x6" rectangle. Starting with the 12" side, roll up tightly. Seal seams and edges by pinching. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place on a grease cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and let rise until doubled in size - approximately 1 hour

After dough has risen for about an hour
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle the loaves with a bit of water, then using a knife, make a few slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. (only until you can touch it, slice it and slather it with butter!)


Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment