Easy Homemade French Bread
Has it really been that long since I posted? Apparently so. Our life has since grown crazy. Maybe your life is just as crazy too. It seems we’ve always got soccer practice, dance, basketball practice, arts and crafts….
Oh! And the biggest news of all! Our little one was born. She is doing well, but eating healthy is now top priority since she gets most of her nutrients from me. And you can’t just eat anything. Leafy greens and chocolate are no no’s. Salad? I LOVE salad and even more than a yummy salad in the summer–chocolate. Don’t take away my chocolate!! This may kill me.
Did I tell you how much my daughter loves french bread? She is always begging me to buy a loaf. She tells us how the “perfect” loaf should taste. “Crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside, Mom.” She even remembers her favorite bakeries that sell the perfect french bread loaf.
So with summer in full swing, I decided to have her try to make a loaf with me. I was really worried. It always seemed so hard to make. And with my daughter helping, I didn’t want to ruin the loaf in front of her.
I spent a lot of time researching tips, hints and recipes. And then I ended up coming up with my own recipe from the tips and tricks I read about. I created a perfect, beautiful loaf that wasn’t hard to make at all.
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a large mixing bowl, place flour. In the middle of the flour, make a small well and pour the yeast. Make another well on one side of the bowl and place the salt inside. Pour the water around the bowl and turn the mixer to low (use your regular mixer paddle or your bread machine hook). Mix until well incorporated. If dough is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time and wait until mixed into the dough. If the dough is too dry, mix in one tablespoon of water at a time and wait until blended into the dough before adding more if needed.
- After the dough has been thoroughly mixed for several minutes, allow the dough to sit for several minutes. The dough will have a rough, lumpier look to it.
- If you have been using the mixer paddle you will want to switch to the dough hook now. Turn on the mixer to low again and mix for three minutes. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on your kneading surface, turn off the mixer and place the dough onto the floured surface. Begin kneading the dough until it has a smooth appearance and takes on the shape of a ball.
- Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. (Remember to oil the plastic wrap lightly too or your dough will stick!) –I’ve done this more than once! Let the dough rise for approximately an hour to an hour and a half or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down, and then split the loaf in half. Form each half of the dough into a rectangle. Roll the dough up, starting from the long side. Tuck in the ends, and sprinkle the seamed bottom evenly with 1/2 tbsp of cornmeal. Invert the dough seam side down onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the second dough ball.
- Cover the two loaves with a warm, damp cloth and allow to rise for approximately 30 minutes.
- At the end of the 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, than cut 3-4 large slits on the top of the dough diagonally.Brush the egg white on each of the two loaves. Bake for 20 minutes, placing tin foil over the top if the loaves start to become too brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.