Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's For Dinner - French Bread

I am still totally in love with my kitchen aid mixer.  I am working my way through the book that came with it until I get used to the different speeds.  All the the recipes in the little booklet tell me what setting to use, no guess work for me!

A few weeks ago, I made a lasagna to take to some friends house for dinner so I figured I might as well make some bread to go along with it.

This is the French Bread recipe from The Kitchen Aid Instructions and Recipes booklet.  (I have to give proper credit!!)

So bust out the Kitchen Aid and cook along!  I will also give you the more calorie burning, non-Kitchen Aid directions, just in case you are still coveting your neighbors Kitchen Aid and have not yet acquired one of your own.

What you need:
2 packages of active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons from a jar)
2 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F) - I can get water this hot from my sink so I like to just fill the sink with hot soapy water, when it's almost full the water is really hot, I fill my measuring cup from the tap and toss my candy thermometer into the measuring cup and skip the microwave all together!
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal - for dusting the pan
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water

Heidi's hand is not really in the bowl near the hook, as it appears in this picture so you don't have to go call child protective services on me.  She is actually brushing stray flour off her hand a few inches above the bowl.
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a warmed mixer bowl.  I just rinse my bowl in the same hot water I just ran from the tap and it's warm enough.

Add salt, butter (melted), and flour.

If you are using the kitchen aid, the just go ahead and dump in all the flour before turning on the machine.  Attach the Dough Hook to the mixer.  Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute or until well blended.  Then Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.  Dough will be sticky.

If you are doing this by hand, then work in the flour one cup at a time until it is all incorporated.  I like to use my hands for this part, it just works better than a fork.  Once all the flour is incorporated, knead for another two minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.  I spray my largest mixing bowl with Pam Olive Oil Non-Stick spray then roll the dough ball around in the bowl.

Cover and let sit in a warm area, meaning don't put it by the window or an exterior wall in the winter time, and cover with a towel.

This is going to rise for about 1 hour.  The dough will be more than double in bulk.

Punch dough down and divide in half.

Roll each half into about 12 by 15 inch rectangles.  I laid my knife on the first loaf so you can see how big it is.  I always wash my counter before starting and make sure to rinse very well.  We don't want any cat hair or soap in our bread!

Roll dough tightly.  Maybe even tighter than I did. 

Place dough on a greased baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.  Cover and place in that same warm place.  They will need to rise again for about an hour.  Set your oven timer then go do something productive, like catch up on your TiVo'ed shows from the past week.

With a sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf.  If your cuts are not spaced well, then make five cuts.  Or three.  Whatever.

Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Beat the egg white and cold water in a bowl.  Remove the bread from the oven and brush on the egg mixture.  This looked really gross to me.  It reminded me of when Heidi was a baby...  sorry, never mind.

Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

As soon as the timer dings and you have the loafs out of the oven, put them on a wire rack.  I used my tea-towel as a huge pot holder because these baby's are hot!

Each loaf will yield about 15 slices, totally depending on how thick you slice.

Serve with something yummy like Lasagna or chili! Enjoy!!

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