Thursday, January 26, 2012

French Bread

I'm attempting to bake bread 50ish times in 2012 and I'll post lots of pictures, recipes, and tutorials here to update you on my progress and hopefully inspire you to bake some too!

This week I baked simple, classic French bread using this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens. I love that it is simply flour +yeast+water+salt. I actually cut the recipe in half and used whole wheat flour though, so to make their French bread my way:

What you need:
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

A hunk of this French bread with Italian seasonings is great with spaghetti!
What you do:
  • Mix all the ingredients
  • Knead for 6-8 minutes
  • Let it rise for about an hour or until doubled
  • Punch down and form into 2 "baguettes" on a baking stone or cookie sheet with a little cornmeal or flour sprinkled on it.
  • Allow dough to double again (about a half hour or so)
  • Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until crust is hard and sounds hollow when tapped.

My thoughts:
  • I use a "Silpat" my mom sent me and it's awesome for preventing sticking.
  • If your house is really dry this time of year like mine is, you can add a tiny bit more water, but if you add too much, your dough will get droopy like mine did...I've made this recipe many times and the only time it wasn't perfect was when I added too much water. If you overcompensate, it will still work and be yummy, it just won't be quite the same.
  • The dough should be elastic and smooth-not sticky-if you have kneaded it properly.
  • If you keep your house cool during winter, let your dough rise a little extra long so it is nice and fluffy.
  • Delicious plain, or rub a stick of butter across the top and then sprinkle Italian herbs like basil, oregano, and garlic and/or some grated parmesan cheese on top for extra deliciousness (and to impress your family!)

6 comments :

Amy G said...

Congrats on making this! This is one type of bread that I've been too scared to try.

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

Thanks Amy! I have a Kitchenaid mixer that I let do the kneading for me and I know that makes it a lot easier, but really I think this is one of those things that seems a lot harder than it actually is-I'm sure you can do it!!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

That looks professional!! This is on my must-try list this week.

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

Thanks Dionna!! We sure like it :)

Also, I just noticed that I left off the word "warm" before water which makes a huge difference because the bread won't really rise with cold water. I updated it now, but if you are going to try it, be sure to use WARM water!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Made it (before getting your "warm" update) - it turned out well, even though I don't think it rose much :/ I'm going to try it again though, with both the warm water and to try putting it by a space heater - I'm sure that is why it didn't rise. Either way, it was yummy :)

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

@Dionna- Oh no!!! I am so sorry! I felt like such a dork when I noticed that...it's like rule #1 of breadmaking to always use warm water. I will be more careful about that in the future. If we ever meet in real life, I owe you a pair of baguettes.