Monday, January 18, 2010

French Bread

I was looking through all my old cookbooks and found a series of little cookbooks called "Confident Cooking."  I decided to browse the bread one and found this fantastic recipe for French Bread.  I was amazed how much it was like a real baguette, and I was in heaven with memories of my sister and I sitting in Paris and eating freshly made baguette. Yum!

French Bread

2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have this you can use all white)
1 t salt
1 packet (1 T) yeast
1 cup warm water
1 egg white
1 T water

1.  Oil your largest baking sheet.  In a small bowl, soften the yeast in the 1 cup warm water; let sit 5 minutes.  Mix together the 2 1/4 cup white flour with the wheat flour and the salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the yeast mixture in.  Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough into a rough sticky ball.
2.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead for 10 minutes, incorporating up to 1/4 cup more flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and brush surface of dough with oil.  Cover tightly and set in warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.
3.  Punch down dough and then turn onto lightly floured surface.  Knead one minute, then roll or flatten dough into an 18"x7" rectangle.  Roll up firmly into a long sausage shape.  Taper the ends, then place diagonally on your prepared baking sheet.  Cover tightly and set aside in a warm place for about 40 minutes, or until well-risen.
4.  Preheat oven to 425F.  Pour 2 cups of water into a shallow baking dish (like a pie tin) and place on the lowest rack in the oven.  This helps make the crust of the bread.  Combine the egg white and 1 T water, then brush gently over the loaf.  Slash the loaf diagonally with a sharp knife at regular intervals about 2 inches apart.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350F, re-brush the loaf with the egg wash, and bake for another 15 minutes.
5.  Remove from sheet and cool on a wire rack.  Best if eaten same day.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

just this morning somebody posted on their blog about some pastry/bread cafe place close by her house that is owned by a guy from france. i was drooling. mostly over the chocolate croisants. i just bought a big thing of croisants yesterday at sam's club. i miss good bread. this stuff looks wonderful.