The other day the kids were begging for spaghetti with meatballs and all I could think of was how great french bread sounded with it. So last minute I decided that I was going to make some up and if it put dinner a bit late we would make due. Whats the worst that could happen? Kids in meltdown, we know how to work through that! So off we went.
I have my go to bread book, an oldie but a goodie!
It is Bread & Soup Cookbook put out by Culinary Arts Institute with a copyright of 1978. My mom picked it up for me at a garage sale and let me tell you, it gets a work out at our house.
The recipe was so simple:
5 1/2 to 6 cups flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast or 2 tbsp
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups water (very hot tap water is what I use)
Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
Add water and mix on high until well mixed, about 3 minutes.
Slowly add in flour until you get a soft dough.
I then add a bit more, put on my kneading hook on my kitchenAid mixer and knead it for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Turn out onto a floured surface, split in 2 and roll each section out into a 15 x 12 rectangle.
Roll each rectangle up tightly, starting at one 12 inch end. Be sure to pinch your seams, taper the ends, fold to bottom and make sure tightly closed.
With a sharp knife, make 1/4 inch deep diagonal cuts along loaf tops.
Cover, let rise until less than double in size (around 20 minutes)
Brush with water.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes,
reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
For a crisper crust, put pan of hot water in bottom of over and 5 minutes before the loaf is done, brush with glaze of 1 beaten egg white and 1 tbsp cold water.
This made for a really nice loaf of french bread, nice moist chewiness on the inside with a great crust on the outside.
NOTE: I added 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1/2 tbsp onion powder while it was mixing together for the added flour, just perfect!