French bread is the best baked thing, ever. Hands down.
There are two types of French bread: the traditional crusty baguette, and the soft, tender french loaf.
My personal favorite is the softer bread. I love making sandwiches on it, and I love enjoying it warm with butter. Mmmm... butter.
Bread is my true love. I've been feeling so inspired, I even wrote a bread haiku:
so delicious on my lips
but not on my hips.
I am a firm believer in eating everything in moderation. No food is "bad" for you. The problem is when I bake bread, I eat the whole loaf by myself!
When I found this recipe, I decided I couldn't resist. It was described as "soft" and "dense"! How could I resist?!
The recipe I used was adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
Soft French Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
This recipe takes about 2 hours from start to finish.
2 1/4 cup warm water (warm to the touch- a little warmer than your finger)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp oil (I used veggie oil)
5 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp water
1. Add sugar and yeast to the warm water and stir with a wooden spoon for about 5 seconds or until the major clumps are gone. Let it sit for 10 minutes, until bubbles form.
2. Pour the yeast mixture into your mixer and add salt, oil, and about half the flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix for about 15 seconds. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 6 minutes.
3. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Turn the mixer on for 15 seconds to stir it down. Repeat this step for a total of 5 times. (for a total of about 50 minutes)
4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough in half. Roll each dough into a 9x13 inch rectangle. Roll up (so it will be 13 inches not 9 inches) and place on silpat (or parchment) lined baking sheet, seam side down. Tuck the ends under slightly so the "spiral" end doesn't show. Using a sharp knife, slice three shallow gashes on the diagonal.
5. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick baking spray (so it won't stick to your gorgeous loaves!) Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Beat egg with water and brush on loaves. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
It's so soft! I just made a grilled Nutella and banana sandwich! It was seriously too good.
I think I'll start to work on my French bread sonnet...