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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

French Bread

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I have a new favorite thing to take to friends around the neighborhood; Homemade French Bread! The recipe makes 2 loaves so you can have one to share and one for your family.

All you do is make the bread and take out some homemade freezer jam from the freezer and presto you now have a new friend. 

It may look and sound intimidating, but it is one of the easiest things you can make.
3 C  - Hot Tap Water 
2 T - Instant Dry Yeast
2 T - Oil
2 T - Sugar
1 T - Salt
8 C - Flour

 Throw all the ingredients, all at once, in a mixer and mix until just combined.  
*This recipe does very well halved; all the pictures are with a half-recipe. A full-recipe would just make bigger loaves.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes in a mixer or by hand.
Split the dough in half and put one half aside.

Roll the dough out in a rectangle, about the length of a cookie sheet. Then, roll up the dough just as you would cinnamon rolls. This helps get all the bubbles out of the dough.

Pinch the dough at the seams.

Lift the ends and pinch it together, bringing it to the underside of the dough.
Place the loaf on a silicone mat, parchment paper, or just a greased cookie sheet with the seam side down. Take the other half of the dough and do the same as the first. (Roll out, roll up, and pinch together.)

Cover the pan with a towel
Perfect Rising Environment: Pre-heat over to 400 degrees for ONLY 2 MINUTES. Then turn off the oven. 

Put the pan in the warmed oven and have it rise for 45 minutes. 

Take pan out after 45 minutes and then pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. 
Score the bread with a sharp knife. (Score whatever pattern you like.)
Cook bread (15-20 minutes for half recipe; 20-25 minutes full recipe).

When you have 7 minutes left on your timer, take out bread and brush with salted butter. 
(Olive oil doesn't work as well as the butter.) 

I use 1 tablespoon of melted butter for a half-recipe and 1.5 tablespoons for a full-recipe.

Place back in the oven and cook the remaining 7 minutes. 
When the loaves are done I immediately place them on a cooling rack.

Time to wrap one loaf up in a towel and run it next door. Enjoy!

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