Home Bread-Bakers v101.n024.20

French Bread

Sun, 29 Apr 2001 12:31:43 EDT
This is a wonderful recipe I came across posted at Culinary.com.  I have 
made these many times; preparing the dough in my bread machine then shaping 
into two baguettes.  They truly are the best french breads I have ever 
made...the closest to a true french...and they LOOK  smashing!

French Bread Extraordinaire

And it really is.
1 1/2 LB. LOAF
1 1/4 c Water
3 1/2 c Unbleached whiteflour
1 1/2 t Salt
2 t Active dry yeast

7/8 c Water
3 1/3 c Unbleached whiteflour
1 t Salt
2 t Active dry yeast

1. Place dough ingredients in bread pan, select DOUGH setting and press start.

2. When dough cycle ends the machine will beep. Set a timer and allow the 
dough to rise I more hour.  Open the machine, punch down the dough, set the 
timer again and let dough rise another hour in the machine. Turn off bread 
machine, remove bread pan, and turnout dough onto a lightly floured 
countertop or cutting board. Form into a smooth, round ball then flatten it 
with your hands.

3. Place a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) in a round wicker basket 
that's at least twice the size of the dough. Dust the towel liberally with 
flour. Place the round dough in the center of the basket. Place basket in a 
warmer place and let dough rise, uncovered, about 45 minutes until double 
in size.

4. Gently turn dough out of basket upside down onto a greased baking sheet. 
With a  knife held almost parallel to the loaf, carefully slash the top of 
the dough at a sharp angles in a # pattern.

5. Preheat oven to 450 F. Place a small pan on the floor or bottom shelf of 
the oven and carefully add at least 1 C. boiling water to the pan. Place 
dough in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cake 
rack to cool 1 hour before slicing. To preserve the crisp crust, do not 
store in plastic wrap or bag. Bread can be loosely covered or left out for 
up to two days before it dries out completely. Note:
Panasonic users: do not use the Crisp Dough cycle This method though 
time-consuming, produces an exceptional loaf of Frenchbread much like the 
ones baked in the boulangeries of Paris. The extra risings fully develop 
the bread's flavor. The finished loaf will have a crisp crust and very 
moist, chewy interior.

My notes: Sometimes I substitute 1/4 C. Whole Wheat flour for 1/4 C. of the 
unbleached flour.  Likewise, with Rye Flour. Sometimes I take out 1/2 C. 
unbleached and add both WW and Rye (1/4 C. each)... My normal method of 
baking the loaf is in a ClayCooker, but its only because I really like the 
crust that the soaked ClayCooker gives any French loaf. Sometimes I add a 
couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds to the dough as it is kneading (for 
flavor). Sometimes I use an egg wash, then seeds of some sort before I bake 
it. I also add 1 T. Gluten to the ingredients, but I am a gluten person!!! 
Lots you can do with this simple loaf.

Posted by: Ursula Taylor
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