Sunday, February 10, 2008

Molly’s French Bread


1 Tbl yeast
1 Tbl sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 pound of flour
2 teaspoons salt
enough water for a nice soft dough, about 2 cups

Combine the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water.
Let sit for about ten minutes or so, until quite bubbled up.

Mix the flour and salt, and lightly stir in the remaining water.
Let sit. The flour will absorb the water.

Add the yeast mixture and beat slowly in a Kitchenaid Mixer.
Sometimes beat fast, other times slow it down.
If you have too much water, add a little flour.
If you have not enough water, add some at bit at a time. It will mix in.
The goal is a nice soft dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
When the right consistency mix on low to medium for 5 minutes or so.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a minute.
Form into a tidy ball, place back into the bowl, and cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place. I put mine into the warming cupboard at 80 degrees.

When double in size, punch down and form into a tidy ball again.
Let rise again. It should go faster the second time.

Prepare the bread pan by lightly greasing it with something greasy.

When the dough has risen the second time, turn out onto the board and cut in half.
Roll each half to be almost as long at the bread pan and place in pan.
Cover with damp towel, place in warm place and let double in size.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Just before baking lightly slash the bread diagonally several times.
I use a serrated knife and run it very lightly over the bread dough.
Bake bread for 17 minutes.
When bread is out of the oven turn the loaves 90 degrees in the pan to prevent them from getting damp while cooling off.

This bread keeps well for about 24 hours. If you use milk as part of the liquid the bread will stay soft longer, but it will have a different taste. You can let it rise only twice instead of three times, but it loses some of its specialness, but is still good.

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