French Bread

Tuesday night, I made Chris’s day! Yes, that’s right, I made French Bread.

Chris is a guy who loves his bread. I think his favorite is probably sourdough, but baguettes are right up there too.

I am also a fan of baguettes because they conjure many fond memories. I remember eating a baguette sandwich from a street cart in Paris while waiting in line to go into the Louvre, a picnic dinner in Florence on the steps beneath Piazza Michelangelo, and even our trip to Vietnam, where “banh mi”, Vietnamese baguettes, were quite common. 

Adapted from Branny Boils Over.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm (about 90°F)
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

  • Combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm water, and sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and the mixture becomes frothy.
  • Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and lightly blend.
  • Add yeast mixture and 90°F water, then mix until dough begins to come together.
  • If the dough is too dry, add water 1 ounce at a time until the desired texture is reached.
  • With a dough hook, kneed for 5 minutes.
  • Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and set in a warm place to rise until it has doubled (about 1 hour).
  • Divide the dough into two pieces.
  • Roll each piece into an oval about 15 x 8 inches.
  • Starting on the long side, roll dough into a 15-inch cylinder, pinching the edges to the body of dough as you go.
  • Place dough seam-side down onto greased sheet pans
  • Cover dough with a towel, and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Before baking bread, pre-heat oven to 425°F.
  • Place a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.
  • Before putting them in the oven, slash loaves diagonally with a sharp blade, about 1/4-inch deep, then brush the loaves lightly with egg glaze.
  • Place 1 cup of ice cubes in the hot pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.
  • Quickly place loaves on shelf above and close door to preserve the steam you’ve created.
  • Bake bread for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Remove baguettes from the oven and cool on a rack to prevent crust from becoming soggy. 
  • Makes 2 loaves of French Bread.

Servings ~ 8 (about 4 servings per loaf)
Calories ~ 184, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37 g, Protein ~ 6 g

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