Thursday, October 13, 2011

French Bread

I needed something to go with my Tomato Tortellini Soup and French Bread was the perfect fit. It has a crunchy exterior and a nice soft and chewy inside. We dipped the bread in some Oregano flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it was amazing!

I quartered the recipe below and still got 2 nice size loaves.

French Bread
Source: On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals

39 fl. oz. Water (110°F)
1 oz. Active Dry Yeast
3 lb. 12 oz. Bread Flour
1.25 oz. Salt

1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated.

2. Increase to medium speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

3. Ferment the dough until doubled, approximately 1 to 3 hours. Punch down, divide, and shape as desired. Proof the loaves until doubled. After the bread is proofed (right before putting it in the oven), score the bread with a sharp exacto knife.

4. Bake at 400°F, with steam injected during the first few minutes of baking, until the crust is well developed and golden brown and the bread is baked through, approximately 12 minutes for rolls and 20 minutes for small loaves.

Yield: 4 Loaves, approximately 1 lb. 9 oz. each

Tip #1: A good way to get steam into your at-home oven is to warm up a sheet pan on the bottom rack of your oven. Once the oven is completely preheated, put the bread in the oven, toss some crushed ice cubes onto the hot sheet tray and close the oven door immediately.

Tip #2: Always use a serrated knife to cut bread. Cut the French bread at an angle to give it a more polished look.

One final thing: You'll want to have a pan like this to make this bread. It's called a French Bread Pan and they are relatively cheap.

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