Saturday, January 11, 2014

Classic French Bread

.5 oz active dry yeast
1/2 cup water, 110 degrees, F
2 cups water
5 1/2 cups of flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp raw sugar
5 1/2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
1 egg white, beaten

Use a thermometer to measure water temperature, once it reaches 110 F, mix it with the yeast and let it set until creamy, 8-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix yeast with 2 cups of water. Add 3 cups of flour, salt, sugar, and oil. Once it gets hard to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly for 10 minutes until all flour is absorbed. Place dough in a bowl and lightly coat with oil. Place a hot towel over the bowl and place in a dark area. Let sit for 1 hour.

Separate dough in half and round into an oval shaped loaf. Place on a baking sheet. Brush beaten egg white onto loaves and let rise an additional 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400.

Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown and hard to the touch. Wait 15-20 minutes before slicing, otherwise bread may be too doughy.

Serve with a plate of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a dash of oregano, salt and pepper.

Alternatives: add fresh garlic or rosemary to dough before letting rise for the second time. Roll dough flat, add toppings, and roll dough. Blend seam well into roll. 

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