Monday, September 14, 2009

From the Kitchen: French Bread

The closest I have ever come to anything French was taking Spanish for 4 years in high school. I suppose I've also been to Canada... if that counts. But I have always had a loving relationship with bread. I regularly make my own rolls and homemade loaves for dinner when we have company, but French bread has eluded me. The word baguette itself was something mysterious, something delicious yet otherworldly, something too simple to be cooked in an ordinary oven. Until last week.


I was at a Labor Day party with many friends and our collective offspring where a very good friend of mine (Hannah, the sharer of this delicious pumpkin muffin recipe) brought garden fresh bruschetta and pan-fried homemade french bread toast on which to serve it. It was carbohydrate heaven, if there is such a place. Gastronomical pleasures the world has not yet known. It turns out that she had recently searched out this recipe on Allrecipes.com after a viewing of the movie Julie and Julia. It was easy, bread-machine-able and turned out fantastic results. This is the highest rated French bread recipe on Allrecipes, and it is clearly a winner.

Ingredients

1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Directions

Place 1 cup water, bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle, and press Start. When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half, creating two 8x12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end. Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.


The global mystique of French bread (and so much more) is captured perfectly in this Flight of the Conchord's video. For your maximum enjoyment, I'd recommend watching the whole first season. Preferably all at once...

3 comments:

erincode said...

Karen, I assume that you've been taking all these food photos yourself? They look really nice. I know you got a camera this year and I think you've done a good job getting to know it.

Erin

Karen said...

Yes indeed... My camera and I are in L-O-V-E :)

heather said...

That was some delicious looking and sounding bruschetta. That movie is really in the top 10 of food porn movies.