Tuesday, January 11, 2011

French Bread Challenge



One of my goals/desires for this year is to learn to make a really good French loaf. The kind with the great crust and nice chewy inside. This recipe is not that. It is however really good and has the virtue of being really, really easy. So easy in fact, that I have made it four times in the last 3 weeks. It also looks quite impressive, and I am not opposed to impressing. (On the odd occasion when I manage it, it is kind of fun!) So although this isn't the bread I aspire to make, it is a great recipe to have in the repertoire. Give it a try, wrap it up in some lovely parchment paper, tie it with some twine and take it to dinner next time you are invited. Promise you will impress.


No Knead French Bread


2 Tbsp instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 1/2 - 6 cups flour
1 egg white
flaked sea salt


Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a large bowl combine 2 cups hot water, sugar, salt, oil and half of the flour. Stir very well - it will get nice and gluten -y. Stir in dissolved yeast and the rest of the flour to make a soft dough. Mix well. Leave spoon in batter and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Stir vigorously. Rest again for 10 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Turn dough onto floured board. Knead once or twice until coated lightly with flour. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a  9"x12" rectangle. Starting at the long edge roll it loosely as for a jelly roll. Seal edge. Place both rolls seam side down, on one large baking sheet. Gash the top of each loaf diagonally three times with a sharp knife. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with the salt flakes. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 400 F. for 35 minutes.


As for the French bread challenge....I haven't cracked it yet  - and I may not but I will have fun trying. And it is, after all, only January 11.



Although this isn't the ultimate French bread, I do have to say that it makes superior French toast. Seriously. Enough to justify making the bread - even if it wasn't absolutely yummy fresh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cheri,

I took your french bread challenge and it was successful! Delicious bread and an even more delicious french toast. Thanks for all the great recipes! I hope you are doing well. Good luck finding the perfect french bread recipe!

all my love,
Anna Hodgins