French Bread

Today, we as a class are having a baked-chicken lunch with yummy sides. As a group, we decided to make french bread because no meal is complete without some sort of bread. There are so many different types of bread and it was hard to choose. We wanted something simple, classic, and would work well with carrots, potato dishes, and most of all, chicken. French bread is something that can be enjoyed by many different people because its just simple bread that is good plan or with butter.
French Bread
-Yields 2 baguettes
Ingredients:
4 c All purpose flour
2 t Salt
2¼ t Active dry yeast
2½ c + 1 T water
1 Egg White
  1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Pour in 1½ c warm water and mix by hand until the dough become elastic.
  3. Cover with a moist cloth and let rise for 1½-2 hours.
  4. When the dough rises to twice it’s original size, punch it down and divide it in half.
  5. Place the halves onto a floured surface and pat into a rough rectangle. Then, roll the dough away from you to form it into the traditional baguette.
  6. Place the two loaves onto a greased baking sheet. Be aware that they will double in size. Cover with a floured cloth. Let rise.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  8. With a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf. The cut should be about ½ inch into the dough.
  9. Pour 1c of water into a baking pan and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. The steam will make the crust of the bread crisp.
  10. Bake the bread on a center rack for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° F and bake for another 25 minutes, or until crust it is golden brown.
  11. Brush the bread with a combination of 1 egg white and 1 T cold water. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  12. Let cool on rack and serve.

This classic recipe resulted in a delicious outcome of warm, crunchy french bread that really complemented the chicken lunch. Even though at points, one has to carefully read the recipe otherwise mistakes can be easily made, the end result was completely worth the long wait and attention. One of the things that as a group we noticed is make sure that once the french bread is done cooking, let cool until a reasonable temperature, otherwise it is difficult to cut to serve. Also the water bath is key to the crust of the bread, making the crust crunchy and delicious. Overall, the french bread was a success!

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