Tuesday, November 23, 2010

French Bread

OK so I know what you are thinking. She is gone for a few months and then she decides she wants to try and win us back with some French Bread. Well yea I am hoping so. Let me explain where I have been once again. If you remember my last post I was going to start homeschooling. Well I am not sure how you mommas do it out there with more than one child. It isn't easy! Homeschooling my son has truly taken over my existence. There are so many questions. Am I doing this right? Is he doing good? Is he ok being home without any other children around? Does he enjoy this? Well here are the answers.

I seem to be doing pretty good. He has all A's and one B. Which compared to him going to normal school has been a huge difference. Let me explain, when you have a child that has always been a good student and grades drop and moral changes and they are not happy in their school. It really does show. It showed with Jr. Chef. He loves being home schooled. He loves that he is making good grades again. He loves that he can work at his worn pace as long as he stays on pace with what our goal is. He loves that he can finish early. Which with some classes he is done for his first semester. So, yes it is a big change. But it has been a change for the positive. It is just so draining. But it makes him happy and he is doing so much better.

So now to the yummy good stuff. I love bread! It is my weakness and everyone in my family. I have always wanted to make bread from scratch and never have. It was always something I pushed off because I didn't think I could do it. I also didn't have a bread machine. Luckily for this recipe you don't need one.

Ingredients:


2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of salt
4 cups of flour ( you made need a little more if still too sticky)


Directions:
Mix the  2 cups of warm water with the 1 tablespoon of yeast and let sit for a few minutes. Then add your tablespoon of sugar and your 1/2 tablespoon of salt. ( you can go up to a tablespoon. But I found it to be to salty for our taste). Start adding your flour 1/2 cup at a time. You can either mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
Or through in your Mixer with the Knead Hook. After you have finished mixing. Let the dough rise from 1-2 hours. I have tried it both ways and the bread has come out wonderful each way. Place your bread in a warm spot with no draft and covered. I usually just place in the oven with the light on.
It makes the oven warm and works well. Take out the dough and divide in half. Shape the dough into a loaf. You can either put flour or butter or even corn meal on your baking sheet so that your bread does not stick while it bakes. Once you have placed your shaped dough onto cookie sheet. You will make two slits on top of bread and spread water or egg on the top of the bread.
You will let rise uncovered for another 30 minutes. After you have let the dough rise for the second time. You will want to heat the oven to 450F. While the oven is heating up. You should boil a pot of water.
Once the water has boiled and the oven has heated you will want to place the boiling water in a pan that can go into the oven on the rack beneath bread. This will create steam which will help the bread get that beautiful crunch. Once the oven has heated to 450F bake for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes. When your timer is up you can tap on the bread to see if it sounds hollow. When it does you know you are ready to pull out your delicious bread.

This is what my dough comes out to look like after the second rise and the slits are cuts. You can make the slits deeper. For some reason my bread came out way bigger this time.

 This is what you get when it comes out. The smell that fills your house it just wonderful. I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do.
It does take time to make this bread and I would recommend using the same day. But it is Oh So Worth It!!
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