Monday, December 13, 2010

Bread Time!

With saving money comes baking, so, a quiet day at home with a sick, screaming 2.5 year old who is trying to out scream his 6wks brother definitely calls for day of bread. French bread that is! It blows my mind that to buy a loaf of bread at the store constitutes me forking over $2+. Thus, let the flour tossing and dough throwing commence while baby wearing!

French Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1t salt
1T sugar
2 1/4t yeast
1 c warm water

1. Combine all the dry ingredients in your stand mixer, then slowing beat in warm water (water should be a bit warmer than baby's bath water...if it is too hot then you will kill your yeast). Beat in your mixer for 2-3 minutes.
       ***If you do not have a stand mixer, then follow these directions: Combine dry ingredients with 1 1/2 cup of water. Beat with a hand mixer until combined. Then, continue to stir in the remaining flour until it is too think to stir. Then, dig in with well floured hands (or pam sprayed hands) and mix until combined.

2. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. If your arms get tired, then walk away, rest and then come back! You want to knead your bread to ensure it is chewy instead of crumbly. It is better to over knead then under.

3. Turn on your over to 350 degrees for 1 minute exactly...then turn off! Put your dough into a greased bowl and cover with a thin towel. Place your dough bowl in the oven to allow the dough to rise. (MAKE SURE YOUR OVEN IS OFF)

4. Allow dough to rise until it doubles (30min-1 hour). Punch down and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll flat until about the size of a small cookie sheet. Then roll up to form your french loaf. Return to your warm oven to allow to rise. (You can re-heat your oven if needed)

5. Once loaf size has doubled, then remove from oven and preheat to 400 degrees. While oven is heating, brush loaf with an egg white wash (1 egg white and 1T water). Then, using a sharp (this is key) knife carefully slash the top of your loaf diagonally 3-4 times a few inches apart.

6. Return to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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