Wednesday, May 6, 2009
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)
(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.