French Bread

Monday, January 02, 2012

3 cups of flour
1 packet of instant dry yeast (7 to 11 grams)
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Heat the water and let it cool to warm. Warm water is hotter than lukewarm but not hot to the touch.
Mix the sugar in the water and then the yeast.
Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until you see that it formed a good layer of bubbles.

In a separate bowl drop in the flour, but grab a fist full and thrown on your working service, so you don't use more flour than the whole 3 cups.

Mix the salt into the flower.
When the yeast is ready, mix in the flour and salt mixture and add the oil.
With a spatula or spoon mix it all until it looks sticky and drop it on the working service.
Knead the bread for 10 minutes.

The flour on the working service will disappear and the dough should be smooth.
Oil a bowl (glass is better) with olive oil.

Make the bread into a ball by folding the bottom of it on itself and put it in the middle of the bowl.

Cover it with a cotton cloth and let it rise for 1 hour.

After the first rise, punch the ball that should have risen twice it's size.

Drop it on the work service and shape the bread.

You can use cornmeal, olive oil or butter, or even use a wax paper sheet on a baking tra

Set the bread on top of it and cover it with the cloth and let it do it's second rise for 1 hour.

When the second rise is done the shaped bread will be twice it's size again.
Score the bread with a sharp knife or a bread carver.

Make an egg wash (1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water) and brush the bread with it.

You can add to the top whatever you want, like crushed nuts, sesame seeds, almonds or nothing.

Bake it on 375F for about 30 minutes.
Let it cook on a wire rack for about 1 hours before cutting it.


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