Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tabitha's French Bread

This is too much for the bread machine to take care of, unfortunately, but it's so easy maybe you'll feel inspired to make it anyway! It's fantastic for the first day, and makes really good toast and French toast when it dries out a little.

Group: Breads

1 Tablespoon (1 pkt) Yeast
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Cups Warm Water


5 1/2 - 6 Cups Flour
Boiling Water

1. Mix Yeast, Sugar, Salt and Water. Let stand until dissolved. Dissolving takes about 10 minutes. Also, I use about half as much salt (Tabitha likes her bread saltier than I do).

2. Add flour and mix. Knead on lightly floured surface. I like putting oil on my hands while I do this. Don't forget to take off your wedding ring! :)

3. Double in bulk. This can take an hour if your house is warm enough. If it's freezing cold (like it is today!) set the bread in front of a warm heater, or on a lightly warm surface (we don't want to bake the bottom!).

4. Knead. Shape into two French-style loaves. This is my favorite part because a lot of bread recipes have to rise one more time. :)

5. Generously sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal. Place shaped loaves onto cookie sheet.

6. Lightly slash tops diagonally, three times. Brush with COLD water. I use ice cubes to make my water really cold, and do this right after step #3. But cold tap water will do, or refrigerated water too.

7. Place rack in COLD oven with a roasting pan full of boiling water on bottom rack. You can boil your water now, or set your water to boil after kneading (step #4). Your choice! The boiling water makes the crust soft and chewy.

8. Bake at 400* for 35-45 minutes. And then EAT it! It's so good!

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