I love french bread! Apparently so do the babes. Together the three of us polished off half this loaf at dinner tonight. Yeah, that's right, us three girls, hubby wasn't home yet, he's lucky we saved him any! In my own personal defense, the girls ate just as many slices as I did, makes me look better that way, right?! :)
This recipe has such a unique technique- no hand kneading involved. If you are nervous about yeast dough, I think this would be a pretty good one to start with. Its really very easy and unbelievably delicious! I always use my dough hook, but the original recipe says it can be done by hand. Also, I always halve the recipe, but the original recipe says that it freezes beautifully.
French Bread from The Sister's Cafe
2 1/4 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1 T. salt
2 T. oil
5 1/2-6 c. flour- stirred before measured
*Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water until it proofs (bubbles), about 5-10 min.
*Measure 3 cups of the flour and put in your mixing bowl along with the salt.
*Add the water mixture and oil to the flour and mix well.
*Add another 2 1/2- 3 c. flour. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky.
*Switch to your dough hook, (or put it on a floured surface) and knead a few min.
*Leave the dough to rest 10 min.
*Turn your mixer on for about 10 seconds to stir it down (or knead for 10 seconds) then let it rest for 10 min. Repeat for a total of 5 times.
*Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in two. Shape one piece into a 9x13 rectangle. Roll up from the long side and place seam side down onto a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal. Repeat with second piece of dough.
*Slash each loaf 3 times with a very sharp knife using quick sure movements. Cover lightly and allow to rise 30 min.
*Gently brush each loaf entirely, with an egg wash of one egg slightly beaten with 1 T. of water
*Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on a rack.