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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

French Bread

I made my first ever attempt at making french bread. I don't have a bread machine, so I had to do it the old-fashioned way. I've been researching various books and sites as to what were the proper ingredients and ways to make this. The ingredients were fairly simple. Some used eggs, some didn't. Some used 1 1/2 tsp yeast, some used only 1 tsp. Some added sugar, while some didn't. Some added butter, shortening or cornmeal. So I came to my own conclusion and this was the result. Not a perfectly shaped loaf, but it tasted really good. Fresh from the oven. Soft, warm and chewy. My little slash marks didn't come out though. I need to score it deeper next time.

I was nervous at trying to make my own bread as I though it would be a hard process and I've never done it before. I found it to be quite the opposite. Really easy to make. It's the waiting that gets tedious. But it'll be worth it once it's baked. I should have been doing this long ago. You know how much I could have saved from buying store bread?

I made three loaves. I may make them into wheat bread and in a demi-batard shape for easy one serving eats for the next time. (i.e. sandwiches)

French Bread
(adapted from French Baguette at AllRecipes.)

4 c All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Dry Active Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 c Warm Water (110-115˚F)

(to make wheat bread: replace with 3 c of wheat flour and 1 c of all-purpose)

In a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water. Let is stand for roughly 4 min. Then stir in the flour and salt until it become a dough blob.

On a well-floured flat surface. Knead the dough for a good 8 min until it feels elastic.

Lightly oil another bowl, place the dough in it and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap for roughly 2 hrs.

Once ready, punch down the dough lightly and form into loaf shapes. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and let it rest again for roughly 20-30min uncovered.

Preheat oven to 375˚F

Make the slash marks on the top and baste the top with some water. (Gives it a nice crust)

Bake for 30 min or until golden brown.


doggybloggy said...

a trick I learned from watching julia child is to have a spray bottle and mist the inside of the oven with water right before putting the bread in - it gives you the tell tale crust of a baguette...your bread looks great - I can imagine a big hunk all drippy with melted butter...

Joie de vivre said...

I've been making my own bread since the new year. I can control the ingredients and it is quite satisfying. I'm glad yours turned out well.

Jen @ said...

Your bread looks great! The individual portions sound great - would be great for dinners/entertaining as well as sandwiches!

We must think alike - last night I made flaky dinner rolls for the first time... and realized that dealing with the dough wasn't half as difficult as I was expecting. I think I will be making my own bread from now on, too!

Elra said...

Wow Jenn, this is impressive indeed. I never made this French bread before. Tempting!

girlichef said...

It's beautiful...and seriously, not much better than the smell of bread baking...and then ripping it off and eating it!

teresa said...

How pretty. This looks like the kind of loaf of bread that you would take on a picnic with a nice bottle of wine and some cheese!

Jenn said...

doggy: That's a neat trick. I'll definitely give that a go when I bake bread again.

Joie: Thanks.

Jen: As the saying goes...great minds think alike. =)

Elra: give it a try. It isn't as hard as it seems.

girlichef: I loved it when my house smelled like bread. It was comforting.

teresa: A picnic sound good right about now.

Sweta said...

Hmmm-home made French bread! You've really got the patience-I'm so lazy,I'd rather buy it from the bakery(shame on me)!!

Dawn said...

I have yet to start conquering the whole wide wonderful world of bread making. Yeast is a funky little thing that you need to love. Right now I have a love-hate relationship that I'm trying to change to love. :-)

Diana said...

I've been meaning to make my own bread too. I think the yeast and waiting intimidates me!

Jim said...

YAY! I can't encourage everyone enough to bake their own bread. I have made all our bread (except for one incident where I needed burger rolls at the last minute for my son and a friend). I do score mine really deep though Jenn, I use a single blade razor and cut down all the way to the guard on the blade. There are photos & recipes on Musings of what I've come up with.
All the best!
~ Jim

lisaiscooking said...

Bread fresh from the oven is just the best. Your loaves look great!

Jenn said...

Sweta: I was actually impatient in waiting for the dough to rise.

Dawn: Give it some time. It'll grow on you.

Diana: The yeast can be a tricky thing to deal with sometimes.

Jim: Thanks for the tip.

Lisaiscooking: Thanks!

shizuokagourmet said...

Dear jenn!
Your breadis great because it is kept simple as it should e. Do not worry too much about the shape. It's not that important!
As long as you can enjoy it the way you ant with your food, perfect!

Reeni♥ said...

These turned out great! Bread cooking is one of the best smells in the world. Home-made bread is so much healthier. They put so much crap into bread nowadays.

Jenn said...

Robert-Gilles: Ya. I'm not too concern with shape. as long as I get my bread.

Reeni: I don't think I'll be buying anymore.

The Duo Dishes said...

Well. You've made that seems a lot easier than we thought. So now we can't keep making up reasons not to make bread. Dang! :)

Chow and Chatter said...

I am so impressed my daughter loved it when in france great job

alice said...

Nice job.. I always thought you had to spray the oven, so I've never even attempted this. But seeing that you did without changes my mind.

Kim, Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet said...

You did an awesome for this being your first time, it looks so good! Now I'm inspired!

5 Star Foodie said...

Wonderful! The bread looks so delicious! I haven't tried making my own bread yet but I'm glad to hear you say that it's not as hard as it sounds :)

Daily Spud said...

Homemade bread is the business & it looks like you made a very nice job of it!

Pam said...

Good job - they look perfect. I really need to start baking my own bread.

Jenn said...

Duo Dishes: Ya give it a try. It's not as intimidating as it seems.

Chow and Chatter: I'd love to try the bread in France one day.

Alice: Spraying isn't necessary, but it does help. =)

Kim: I'm glad I was able to inspire in some way. =)

5 Star Foodie: Once you try it, you'll want to make make. LoL.

Daily Spud: Thank you.

Pam: Ya. It'll save on your budget, too.

ValleyWriter said...

Very nice job - you'd never know this was your first try! I agree about the worst part being waiting between steps - other than that, it's really not too bad.

Jenn said...

ValleyWriter: Thanks.

TavoLini said...

I love, love, love making bread :)

You're going to have fun with this--did you like how they turned out? I want to see some sandwich pictures!

Leela said...

Good job, Jenn! Your bread looks great. You should have seen my first French bread. It would have scared the heck out of little children.

Jenn said...

TavoLini: I was very pleased with the outcome. I thought I would have burnt them or something.

Leela: LOL

Tangled Noodle said...

You are lightyears ahead of me! I don't even attempt bread making (I don't even dare THINK about it). These look great!

Jenn said...

Tanged Noodle: Give it a try! you'll be glad you did.

Sugared Ellipses... said...

Congrats on the bread! I've been meaning to bake some of my own myself lately (lately being for the last couple of months...ok, it was last year but I've been busy).

Part of the hold up was my search for the right stone to bake the loaves on. I finally went to a tile store and got some unglazed terra cotta tiles.

Thankfully my Mom had the good sense to ask the guy whether it was safe to use the glazed or unglazed tiles. He said to definitely go with the unglazed otherwise our oven might explode. Good to know. :)

Jenn said...

Sugared Ellipses: That's a good tip to bake it on a stone. I've got to look into getting one.

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