Tuesday, March 4, 2014

For real the best french bread recipe ever

Alright, people.

This bread is my absolute favorite. This bread turns out with a thick, wonderful crusty crust. I love it.
I think it's the butter that makes it magical.
We all know butter just makes things better, right?
Betty Botter knows this.

I got this from a Sunbeam Bread machine manual years ago. The first several times I tried it, it turned out like a rock.
Many, many tries later, with some googling and chatrooming thrown in, I discovered that I just needed to add a bit more water. !!!
I have no idea why the recipe in the book calls for the wrong amount, or why it took me so long to figure out that if the dough didn't LOOK like good dough, I could use my common sense and tweak it.
Here's the corrected recipe.

That said, use your eyeballs to get a good dough. The amount of water could vary depending on altitude or weather.

Bread Machine French Bread

1.5 lb loaf            Ingredient               2 lb loaf
1 1/4 c                   water                    1 1/2 c
1 1/2 tbsp           soft butter                 2 tbsp            
3 1/4 c                    flour                       4 c
1 tbsp                    sugar                      5 tsp
1 1/2 tsp                 salt                      1 1/2 tsp
2 1/2 tsp                yeast*                     4 tsp                        
*I use regular yeast, that I get from Sam's for $4/lb, not fancy bread machine yeast.

Put your pan with blade in the machine.
Place ingredients in the pan, in the order listed. If you're setting the machine up for later, make an indention in the flour and put yeast in that, to be sure that it doesn't come in contact with the water before the machine starts.
Carefully insert pan into machine & close lid.
Choose French Bread option (if available).
Select desired crust color.
Select desired loaf size.
Press start.

Often, I've used the machine's dough setting, and shaped this to make baguettes. I'll even mix up this recipe sans machine when I don't feel like dragging out the machine.
In fact, it's rising on my stove right now.
I'll try to snap a pic of the deliciousness before it gets gobbled up.

To just mix it up, I really just combine the yeast & water, then butter, then everything else.
Knead until nice & elastic (3-5 min), put in an oiled bowl in a warm place to rise for an hour or so.
Cut dough in half, roll out each half, but just barely. You want to keep the gas inside the dough, so try to roll gently. If that makes sense to you, congratulate yourself. Heh.
Roll up the dough, to make a baguette, with the seam down. I rub soft butter on the top of the dough, then slit dough diagonally just to be pretty.
I put them on a greased cookie sheet and let them rise again for about 30 minutes.
Bake @ 375 for 35(ish) minutes.
Ususally I knock on the crust to try to see if it's nice and hard, sound hollow inside.
*I have no idea if this actually does anything.

Enjoy! I reccommend smearing your slice(s) with butter. So so good.


The P in PJs til Noon said...

A blog post! A real, live blog post! And even better? A bread recipe, yum! I can't wait to try it, I've been stuck on sourdough lately.

jennybek said...

OH PAM!!! I can't believe I haven't shared this with you, I've been sitting on this one for years. Well. I actually think about you every time I make bread, so that counts for something, right? :)