Easy French Bread
|pinch of sugar|
|2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)|
|3 packages active dry yeast|
|6 2/3 cups bread flour|
|4 tsp salt|
|Additional luke warm water and flour for dusting|
In France the love of fresh baked bread is almost a religion! People line up in front of the bakeries at first light to get their daily supply of bread. Baking bread is an art and the best bakers spend a life time perfecting their craft.This doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun and give it a try. As always I recommend that you purchase a good book on the subject and take a class in your area. Hands on training is always the best way to learn. A great go to book for you to start with is the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking It’s on sale in the Food So good Book Store. That being said here is a recipe for French bread that I think you will enjoy.Remember baking is an art, and science. For the best results measure all necessary ingredients exactly!
- Stir sugar into warm water and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand 5 minutes or until the surface is frothy. Stir gently to moisten any dry particles remaining on top.
- Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Pour in yeast liquid, combining to make a dough. (You may use an electric mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with a dough attachment)
- If you prefer to make dough by hand, on a floured surface, knead dough 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Sprinkle dough generously with flour so the surface does not form a crust.
- Cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
- Sprinkle large baking sheets with flour.(I have a pizza stone in my oven which allows me to bake bread without baking sheets, and it makes a crisper crust)
- Quickly knead risen dough. Divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a long roll and place on floured baking sheets or pizza stone.
- Cover dough and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Slash loaves diagonally several times with a sharp knife or razor blade and brush with lukewarm water.
- Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until loaves are golden brown and crusty.
Note: When measuring for baking be sure to use dry measure cups, not a liquid measuring cup.
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