Since we were having basic spaghetti for dinner last night, I decided to have the recipe for the day be a side of fresh baked French bread to go with it. I found an easy recipe online, and it turned out great!
5-6 cups of all-purpose (or bread) flour
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1. ((I started out not following the recipe. Though the ingredients are the same, I used my knowledge of letting yeast get started before adding extra stuff to start it off...)) In a large bowl, combine the warm water with the yeast and let sit to activate while you prepare the next set of ingredients.
2. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt to the yeast/water and beat until well blended using your mixer with dough hooks. Then stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. (I got about 4 1/2 cups total mixed in before the next step)
3. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total.
4. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 30 minutes to an hour. I left mine for 45 minutes)
5. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
|This one was a garlic/Parmesan loaf. This is the step to add things in (see the end of the recipe)|
9. Bake in a preheated oven at 375* for 20 minutes. Brush again with the egg white mixture and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack (mine didn't make it to this step, since we started dinner just after they came out of the oven!)
Tip: For an even crispier crust, spray the loaves with water right before baking, and then every 5 minutes for the first 10 minutes of baking.
|the top loaf is the garlic, the bottom is plain bread|
Add-Ins: To make flavored bread (like I did), add in the ingredients before rolling the dough up. Then roll, sprinkle a little more on top and finish the recipe.
- Butter, garlic and parmesan cheese for garlic bread (see above)
- Butter, cinnamon and sugar
- Fresh or dried herbs
- Cheddar or mozzarella cheese
It was yummy! and my house smelled SOOO good!! All the possible variations on things you could put inside make this a very versatile bread that would be great at any time of day!