Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kitchen Aid French Bread

As you read this post, we're in Roatan, Honduras. Tim's looking forward to snorkeling the world's second largest barrier reef.

In keeping with my 2010 resolutions, I made another batch of homemade bread. I am encouraged about my bread baking skills. My biggest challenge in making homemade bread is the kneading, so I am trying to make recipes using my Kitchen Aid to do the kneading for me. I really want to start making whole wheat breads, since we all know the story about white flour but I didn't have any whole wheat flour in the house, so it's white bread again this time.

Kitchen Aid French Bread

2 packages active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups water (105F to 115 F)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon melted margarine or butter
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add salt, butter, and flour.
Attach bowl & dough hook to mixer, turn to Speed 2 and mix about 1 minute or until well blended. Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer. Dough will be really sticky.
Put dough in large greased bowl, turning to coat.

Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half into 12" x 15" rectangle. Roll dough tightly, from longest side, tapering ends, if needed/wanted. Place loaves on greased baking sheets, dusted with cornmeal.

Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. With sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf.

Bake at 450F for 25 minutes. Place 3 -4 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven. Remove from the oven. Beat egg white and water together and brush each loaf with this mix. Return to the oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

My notes on this recipe: This dough is really, really sticky. Next time I make it, I am going to try kneading a little longer and seeing if that helps. My loaf turned out pretty flat. I think I didn't roll the dough tightly enough. I didn't use the egg wash and the crust was beautiful. The color of the finished bread was a golden color, not the typical white you think of with French Bread. The bread was denser than I would have liked but the flavor was still very good. After learning some things about this bread recipe, I will try it again.

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