Monday, January 23, 2012

French Bread

Making bread can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Making good bread requires mad skills… or a bread machine to do most of the work.

Yesterday we knew friends were coming over for dinner. Actually, they were bring the entrée and we were providing a salad and bread. My husband was going to make the bread, but I decided to make it since he was busy working on incredibly complicated math homework to get his, like, eighth teaching endorsement in hopes of finding a job. Anyway, I knew what I wanted and I’ve made French bread before, so I simply adapted my recipe to make it better and a little healthier. The results? It was fantastic and the flavor was amazing. I used the dough cycle on my bread machine for the entire process except baking, which takes about an hour and a half and does every step except dissolving the yeast in water. Personally I find it to be the most foolproof when I would rather be doing something else, like quilt. Here’s my recipe.

Cory’s French Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water (about 115 degrees)
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine water, yeast and brown sugar together until yeast dissolves and begins to bloom, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix for about 10 minutes if using a Kitchen-Aid with a dough hook, or knead by hand for 10 minutes, or be lazy and use the dough cycle on a bread machine like I do. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size. Punch down and repeat. When ready, cut in half for baguettes or leave whole for a loaf. Stretch to desired length and twist before placing on a baking sheet or pizza stone sprinkled with corn meal. Cover with a towel and allow to rise one final time, anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour. With a sharp knife, cut a few slits on the top of the bread. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

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