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Well we needed some bread to go with the best soup in the world, right?

I originally wanted to make a baguette, but since the dough had to rest overnight, and I was looking for recipes late the night before, I eighty-sixed the baguette.  Maybe another time.

French country bread sounded good enough.  Maybe even more fitting with the Provençal soup.

French Country Bread (recipe found here)

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. (I let my stand mixer do the kneading, which is exactly why I haven’t made bread before I got my Kitchen Aid.) Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16 in. long x 2-1/2 in. wide with tapered ends. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.

Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

I know this is dumb, but I was so excited that it came out looking just like a loaf of bread!  Not sure what else I was expecting, but if you remember your first time making bread, you probably know the elated feeling I’m talking about.

There is absolutely nothing like the scent of baking bread and then eating it warm out of the oven.

The original recipe calls this “Crusty French Bread,” but I really wasn’t digging the “crusty” part, although it does have quite a nice crust.  I found out that French country breads are usually round, but can also be found in loaf form.

It’s “crusty” on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.  Perfect eaten by itself or with a hot bowl of soup.

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