Friday, December 4, 2009

French Bread

Yesterday I decided to make chicken cordon bleu sandwiches for dinner. I went to the grocery store and was planning on picking up a baguette or nice rolls, but I decided I was not willing to pay $3 or $4 just for a loaf of bread when I can easily do it myself. With a KitchenAid mixer, there really isn't any excuse not to at least try your hand at making bread since it does all the kneading for you, the most time-consuming step. Of course, if you don't have stand mixer you can do the kneading by hand.

I halved everything and only made one loaf since that was all I needed. I baked it for 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye on it since I didn't know how much the time would change for one loaf versus two. My oven also tends to run a little hot and I was worried the outside would get too dark. Fortunately for me, thw bread turned out chewy and moist on the inside and crusty on the outside.

French Bread
from the KitchenAid Baking Companion

makes 2 loaves

2 packages active dry yeast (one package=2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in the warmed bowl of electric stand mixer. Add salt, butter, and flour. Attach dough hook to mixer. Turn to low and mix until well-blended, about 1 minutes. Knead on low about 2 minutes longer. Dough will be sticky.

2. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

3. Punch dough down divide in half. Roll each half into a 12x15-inch rectangle. Roll dough tightly, from longest side, tapering ends if desired. Place loaves on greased baking sheets that have been dusted with cornmeal. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

4. With a sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Beat egg white and cold water together with fork. Brush each loaf with egg mixture. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from baking sheets immediately; cool on wire racks.

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