My husband recently challenged me to make homemade bread. He got an evil look at first because I’m not much into baking really – my experience is with apple and pumpkin pies for the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. That about sums it up.
So I Googled some recipes and tried one that was found on Food.com. Crusty French Bread. Sounded good. I had to Brigittize it of course like all recipes. (For some reason they need to be tweaked in my opinion.)
It was super easy and turned out great. The family wanted me to make the bread again because it tastes much better than store bought. So I did it again today.
This easy recipe makes two loaves…crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. No fancy equipment needed either.
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used Extra virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 -5 1⁄2 cups bread flour (I used organic)
2 tablespoons of cornmeal (approx.)
Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (I only did 5 minutes the first time).
Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled (Takes about an hour).
Punch down and divide in half. Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet (I used a large cookie sheet).
Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I used scissors).
Cover and let rise until doubled. (Takes about another hour)
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust.
For any leftovers, I cut in smaller sections, place in a gallon storage bag and put in freezer. Tastes just as good after reheating!
Now I’m on a mission to find a french loaf pan to make it more like a baguette.