Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Best French Bread

Fabulous French Brea

It's a simple, but  formal affair!)

3 steps to getting ready for the ball:

The Bathtub:
In large glass bowl, mix:
 1 package of Quick yeast with 1 1/3 cup warm (not hot) water
4 teaspoons of sugar (honey, agave nectar will work or combine with sugar)
Let proof till creamy/foamy head appears (about 10 minutes)

The Formal Gown:
Combine in large glass, metal, or plastic bowl, mix or sift:
5 1/2 cups unbleached or all purpose flour. ( Lower gluten? Put one cup rice or bean flour instead)
2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, sweet basil and/ or oregano. (optional)

Top Crown: 
In a small bowl
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter
with  2 tablespoons of  milk
1 slightly beaten egg

Getting Ready
Gently add the flour to the glass bowl with the frothy yeast mixture, one cup at a time using a fork till it's a sticky mass. (If it is too sticky, add some flour very sparingly) Knead the dough until it's mixed and like elastic, then form into one smooth ball ( About 8 minutes.)

Place in the large OILED bowl and turn over to gloss both sides. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel.
Let dough rise in slightly warm, dark area for about 1 1/2 hours:

Punch down and divide dough in two parts
Stretch into a long rectangle, then fold in the sides. PINCH the ends. ( This will seal all the gas that its hour long nap time rendered!) Take a knife and cut about 5 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf
Brush the TOP CROWN on top and sides of each loaf. Let it rise covered, for about 30 minutes

Bake on baking pan: about 30 mins @ 400 degrees till brown..
Place on rack to dry out for crusty crown.

Enjoy sliced then toasted or grilled topped with bruschetta!

Perfect for Lasagna, spaghetti,  or any saucy Italian dish.

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