Friday, February 13, 2009

french bread

Some people just love to bake, but to be honest, it has always intimidated me more than other kinds of cooking. Something about having to be so precise, fearing I would not knead the dough properly or for the correct amount of just seems so much more complicated than other types of cooking. And I've always justified my baking hesitations by the truth that I really don't need to learn how to make all sorts of carb-laden food. But lately, I've taken more of an interest in baking. Not so much in learning to make exquisite cakes or anything, but in just wanting to learn how to make some good breads to go along with our evening meals. So a few weeks ago when my friend Katie made french bread from scratch, and I was pretty intrigued. The thought of having warm, yummy french bread out of my own oven just seemed like such a great addition to a meal. Well, tonight I took the plunge and made french bread for the very first time. Now, I can honestly say I was intimidated about making this recipe...I was sure that mine would just not turn out right, but, to my astonishment, my husband and I both thought this bread was delicious! And it really wasn't hard to make at all. It takes a couple of hours from start to finish, because you have to knead the dough every 10 minutes 5 different times, but I used my kitchenaid mixer (such a wonderful wedding present!) and let it do its job while I prepared other things. All in all, it's a very easy bread to make, and the results really are delicious! The recipe makes two loaves, which is great because you can freeze one loaf to have on hand. And as always, I'm sure making it from scratch definitely saves money. This recipe, Grandma's French Bread, is from My Kitchen Cafe, and she got it from on of her sisters at The Sisters' Cafe. You can check it out on their links or just look below for the recipe.

Grandma's French Bread
from The Sisters' Cafe

I N G R E D I E N T S :

2 ¼ c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
5 ½ -6 cups flour-stirred before measured

D I R E C T I O N S :

First dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this proof—or sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well (At this point I switch to my dough/kneading attachment on my Bosch mixer) Add in 2 1/2 -3 more cups of flour. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky. Knead for a few minutes. Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn dough onto a floured surface and knead it 2 or 3 times to coat with flour. Divide into 2 equal parts. Roll each part into a 9x13 rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal, allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with second part of dough. With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at an angle on the top of each. Cover lightly; allow to rise 30 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seads. Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Cool on racks.
NOTE: For a crustier loaf, a pan of hot water may be set on bottom of oven while bread is baking.


Travis and Amber said...

So you just put the mixture in the mixer and put the hook attachment on and let it go around for a little while? I've only ever used one attachment on my mixer.

Domestic Kate said...

Yay! I'm so glad ya'll liked it!