Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Easy French Bread

Easy French Bread
I made an error when preparing these amazing loaves of bread. I should have made them longer during the loaf forming portion of the recipe. They work better set on the baking sheet at an angle, so greater length can be achieved. So I ended up with two wide loaves of the most delicious bread I have ever eaten. Miss F and I gobbled up two warm slices with butter fresh from the oven before dinner, that is two slices each. This recipe creates a beautifully soft crust, which is perfect for serving plain with just a bit of butter. Next time I make it, I am going to try it in a loaf pan to make sandwich bread, I think it would be perfect for Miss F's lunchbox. Thanks to Naomi Cakes for the most amazing bread recipe I have ever prepared.
Easy French Bread

½ cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil
Approximately 5+ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water, to glaze

In a two cup measure, stir together the ½ cup lukewarm water with ½ teaspoon sugar and yeast. Let rest 10 minutes.

While the water yeast mixture is resting, combine the 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir. Add the water yeast mixture and 2 cups of the flour. Stir to combine. Continue to add the flour in ½ cup amounts, kneading with the dough hook attachment after each addition. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, stop adding flour. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.

Punch down the dough and divide in two. Roll into long loaves, folding the dough and pinching underneath. Use a serrated knife to score three slits in the top of each loaf. Cover with a towel and let rise for 35 minutes more.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon cold water, and brush on top of the loaves. Let the loaves rise, uncovered this time, 10 minutes more. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool on wire racks.
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