Monday, January 30, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- French Bread

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I have tried several french bread recipes and never really had them come out right, or they took too long to make.  Then I came across this recipe from one of my Taste Of Home magazines.  It was simple and came out perfectly the first time I made it.  To make really great french bread I really want a french bread pan, but my loaves come out semi-oval shaped just using a baking sheet.

French Bread Pan

French Bread Loaves

2 T active dry yeast
2 C warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 t salt
1 t sugar
4 1/2-5 C bread flour (all-purpose flour will work but bread flour gives a better texture)
1 t cornmeal

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water for 5-10 minutes.  The yeast will become bubbly.  Add the sugar, 2 C of flour, and salt.  Beat until smooth.  I do this in my Bosch mixer.  Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Knead for 6-8 minutes in the Bosch or by hand.  
This is before all the flour was added. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl when enough flour is added.
Place the dough in a greased bowl (I just leave it in my Bosch) cover and let rise for about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half and shape into 2 12-inch loaves.
Here are the loaves about to raise for 30 minutes.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf.  Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  

There are only 79 calories per slice (each loaf has 12 slices)and only a trace of fat!!!!  These loaves also make delicious garlic bread.  Just split the loaves lengthwise, spread some butter and sprinkle with garlic powder, parsley, Parmesan cheese, paprika and bake for 10 minutes at 350.  You won't have to buy garlic bread from the grocery store anymore!!!

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