Tuesday, February 17, 2009

French Bread

This is one of my very favorite bread recipes.  I picked it up while taking an artisan bread baking course in school.  The only measurements I have are using a scale, rather than cups, but the recipe is well worth the cost of an inexpensive digital cook's scale (mine was $20 at Target).  I usually make mini baguettes with the dough, and can get about 12 small loaves from the recipe.  You can go ahead and make larger ones if you like.  We've affectionately termed this bread "guppy bread," as my small loaves will often bulge or bust open.  I'm getting better and this doesn't happen as much as when I first started, but the name has stuck, even if the loaves no longer resemble the little fish!

French Bread

37 oz. Unbleached Flour
2 oz. Whole Wheat Flour
24.5 oz Warm Water
1/2 Tblsp. Dry Instant Yeast
.75 oz Kosher Salt

1. Place water in bowl.  Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the water.  Mix until dough forms, adding additional water if needed to form a loose dough.

2. Knead dough by hand for 10-15 minutes, or with a stand mixer for 5-8 minutes, or until gluten has developed and a small ball of dough is at "windowpane" consistency (see photograph below).

3. Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow dough to rise for 3 hours, turning out dough and folding it in half after each hour.

4. After third fold, allow to rest, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

5. Cut dough into similar sized portions, and allow to rest for 5 minutes, covered.

6. Shape dough into baguettes, rounds, ovals, etc, as desired, and place in pans or on parchment lined sheet trays.  Score the loaves as desired.

7. Cover and allow to rise for an additional 45-60 minutes. 

8. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If using, put baking stone in oven prior to turning the oven on.  Once preheated, place pans in oven, or slide parchment paper containing the loaves onto the baking stone.  Small loaves will take about 15 minutes, while larger loaves will take 20-25 minutes.  Loaves are done when a knock to the bottom will sound hollow, or internal temperature reaches 210 degrees.

9. Allow to cool before storing.  Loaves can be frozen after they have been baked and cooled.  To reheat: 320 degrees for 8-10 minutes in the oven.

1 comment:

Angie said...

I love guppy bread!! I remember getting my first bread baking lesson making this famous Gasper staple. Great post Julie!