Sunday, August 26, 2012

French Bread

This french bread recipe comes from a book my Mom gave me about 16 or 17 years ago when she was getting ready to move out of my childhood home.

The book is called Once-a-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. The book I had was the original 1986 edition. I wish I kept this book, but I must have been in a purging mood and got rid of it. That was most likely when we moved to PA from IL. It had some great ideas and I still make the granola and Balkan Meatballs recipe from this cookbook. I see there are newer additions out. I may have to pick one up. You can find it on Barnes & Noble's website.

French Bread from: Once-a-Month Cooking

3 cups warm water
1 package of yeast
3 tablespoons of sugar or honey
1 tablespoon of salt
7 ½ to 8 cups of all purpose or bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in one cup of warm water. Add the sugar and salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the additional 2 cups of warm water and 3 cups of flour. Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes on a well floured surface. Grease a very large bowl and the top of the dough. Cover and let rise until the dough has almost tripled. Sometimes I make the dough before work and do the last rise when I get home.  You can shape into 4 baguettes or put into 3 ungreased 8x4 loaf pans (my lazy, preferred way). Let rise for another 45 minutes, covered. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake the loaves for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake another 30 to 35 minutes. Once I reduce the oven temperature, I lay a piece of foil over the tops of the loaves so they do not brown too much.  This is a nice, sturdy bread. I like to slice the extra and put it in a freezer bag. That way we can have homemade bread any night of the week. I just pop it into the microwave. It also makes great toast.

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