Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hurry French Bread

"Boulangerie" -  Andre Renoux
You'll recall a special loaf of bread that Stacie Webb used to make for her then suitor Toby. It was a quick French-style bread that, while it might not fool a Parisian, persuaded me that I need never settle for spongy Italian bread again.
Toby feigned mock indignation when Stacie invited me to come over before the other dinner guests to see how her bread was prepared, and he reminded everyone again that it had been 30 years since he was last treated to a loaf, but everyone saw right through him, and Stace remained as amiably unflappable as ever.
Aunt Stacie's Hurry French Bread
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • 1½ Tbsp dry yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached, or all-purpose flour

    Do not use bromated bread or whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine water, salt, honey, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine ingredients and allow to sit 5-10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and starts to bubble.
While mixing with a wooden spoon, add flour in small amounts until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Some flour should be left over. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Coat hands and the dough with more flour to prevent sticking and shape dough into an oval. Cut the dough into two even pieces, and working quickly, roll each piece into a long loaf shape.
Lay each loaf into a well-greased French pan, cover with a dish towel and allow to sit in a warm place for 20 minutes. With a sharp knife, make three shallow slashes across the top of each loaf to prevent the bread from splitting open during baking. Spray the loaves with salted water and bake on the middle shelf in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove loaves from the oven and allow to cool an a wire rack.
Fifty minutes from start to finish, and this bread shared all the best characteristics of an authentic French baguette. While the crust might not have been as crunchy as the genuine article, it sure was pleasing. There was a slightly salty bite to it, and the interior was springy and full of those air pockets so loved by the French.
Confident in the knowledge that marital bliss was once again flourishing in the Webb House, I rushed to order my own set of French loaf pans and will be baking up a storm once they arrive. Like I said, I may never buy another loaf of bread again.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

No comments: