How to Make French Bread From Scratch
Making bread is not that difficult to do from scratch. I know a lot of people think that there is a science to it but I can honestly say the only science to it is being able to get the temperature right!
Using yeast is simply a matter of adding the liquid ingredients at the correct temperature to activate the yeast and also making sure that the dough has adequate heat to rise. By applying these 2 simple theories in bread making, it is really very easy to be successful at it.
Moreover, there is nothing like the smell of baking bread in a house. I used a recipe that I had in my 30 year old Betty Crocker International Cookbook; however, that was before we had food processors and stand-up mixers. Instead of kneading the dough by hand, I simply mix the dough and then place in the mixer with the dough hook and knead it that way. Nothing could be simpler! For variety, try potato bread and rolls.
Photo Credit: Adam Pieniazek
Homemade French Bread
Makes 1 loaf
1 package active dry yeast (or 2-1/2 teaspoons dry yeast)
1-1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2-3/4-3 cups flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white or substitute egg white
2 tablespoons cold water
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Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.
Stir in sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour.
Beat until smooth.
Stir in enough of remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
Remove dough and place in mixer with dough hook on or in food processor
with the dough hook on. Turn on and knead for 5-7 minutes. (Or turn
dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic – 5
minutes or so)
Place in a greased bowl. Turn greased side up.
Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place until double 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Punch down dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Grease a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
Roll dough into rectangle on slightly floured surface to 15 x 10 inches.
Roll up tightly and seal edge.
Roll gently back and forth to taper ends.
Place on cookie sheet.
Make 1/4-inch slashes in loaf at 2-inch intervals or make 1 lengthwise slash down length of the loaf.
Brush the top of loaf with cold water.
Let rise uncovered until double 1-1/2 hours.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush loaf with cold water.
Bake 20 minutes.
Mix egg white and 2 tablespoons water.
Brush over loaf.
Bake until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped – about 25 minutes.
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