Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bread Expectations

Sitting on the couch early on a Sunday morning, drinking coffee (that was made with my new Cuisinart Keurig, which I totally love) and watching the IIHF world juniors game, I couldn't help but think about breakfast. There are so many options, but the one thing I wanted was eggs...but we had one piece of toast bread left to go along with them. I would be ok with that, but my hubby is definitely a bread guy.

To be honest, I've always wanted to make bread, but every time I've tried, it's just never turned out as good as bread I could buy (and much quicker than making it at that).  So while curled up in my PJs, I searched the various recipe apps that have saved me so many times, but I only really found what I was looking for by searching on good ol' trusty Google. And there it was, a French Bread recipe that actually didn't scare me to try. And I'm so glad I did because it was easy and delicious. The down side: my husband now expects that fresh bread will be made all the time.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2-3/4 to 3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose and it still turned out great)
1 tsp. salt

1. Dissolve the yeast into the water for about 5 minutes.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt to the water and yeast and mix for a few minutes.
3. Add the rest of the flour (as much as you need to make a soft dough).
4. Either knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface until it's elastic and springy (this may take about 10 minutes) or use the dough hook on your mixture and mix the dough for about 5 minutes until all the flour is gone and the dough is elastic.
5. Grease a bowl and place the dough in it, turning once to coat the top of it. Cover and let it sit until doubled in size, for 1-2 hours.
6. Punch down the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface in a 12x6 inch rectangle.
7. Roll the dough tightly, starting with the longer side. Pinch the ends and edges to seal.
8. Shape the dough to make the ends thinner than the centre.
9. Place the dough on a greased cookie sheet, seam side down. Sprinkle with cornmeal, cover and let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
10. Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife in 3 places. Bake in the oven at 425 F for 20-30 minutes, until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped with fingers.
11. Remove from cookie sheet, let cool, and enjoy!

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