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
- 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.
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.