Saturday, December 22, 2007

How to make french bread

1 pkg active dry yeast
2.25 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 egg (for egg wash to coat the bread only)

1. dissolve yeast 1/3 cup water at 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit
2. keep yeast at 110-115 degrees for at least 5 minutes until it starts frothing/bubbling

3. add and mix all ingredients together:
-1 and 1/4 cup water at approximately 115 degrees F
-2.25 tsp salt
-3 cups flour
-yeast mixture

4. knead for 10-15 min on a flour covered surface. keep adding flour to keep surface and hands dry. by the end of kneading, the dough will have taken in an additional cup of flour.
5. form dough into a ball, put in a large oiled bowl, cover and let it sit for at least 1 hr. (up to 2) preferably in a 90+ degree room. it should double or triople in size.
6. give the dough a stiff punch dough down the center and the bread will deflate. flip over, and let it double in size again. should take approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
7. quickly give the dough a gentle knead, and shape the dough, cut 4 slits on top. let it rise a third time. This, you can do it overnight if needed.
8. preheat oven to 450 degrees. place a tray of water on the bottom rack.
9. coat the top with egg wash (i think egg whites will work just as well) and throw it into the oven.
10. bake at 450 degrees for 20 min
11. bake at 400 degrees for an additional 15 more min

additional tips:
during baking, spray the dough with water every 10 minutes for a harder, crunchier crust.

enjoy the bread with whipped chive butter:
1. finely chop chives
2. mix chives with whipped unsalted butter.
3. add garlic salt to taste

additional notes:
You might find the bread on a bit on the salty side if you have salty meats or salty butter with the bread. you can reduce the amount of salt and substitue the amount with sugar. It is recommended you do this if you want to have the bread with sweetened butter.

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