Well, this is a bit of late announcement but my food related resolution is to learn to make bread and not be so afraid of it. I think I was afraid of the dough not rising or the bread turning out tough or doughy. I was also inspired by my brother in law’s wife. She always makes the best bread. She made challah for our family holiday get together. It looked gorgeous (is that possible?) and tasted delicious! I decided that I would just suck it up and give it a whirl! I first decided to consult the talented and oh so encouraging ladies on The Nest for some advice about where to start. Many lovely ladies suggested the King Arthur Flour website, some sent me to their blogs and some suggested The Bread Baker’s Apprentice cookbook. I went to the King Arthur Flour website and nosed around and then I went to my local library to look for the Bread Baker’s Apprentice but didn’t have success because the library is under construction. I did put myself on the wait list for the book.
I was very nervous about baking bread but it turned out quite well. I approached it with attitude of, “Here goes nothing!” My one snafu with the recipe was that I think I may have hurt or killed my food processor. The motor started smoking when it was doing the last of the kneading! Smoke is never good. It didn’t smell too pretty either. So I quickly unplugged it to discourage any more smoke! I’ll let you know how the food processor is holding up next time I use it!
I was so excited that this recipe worked, the dough doubled in size when it rose the first time and the crust was beautiful. I was also happy that the bread turned out even though I didn’t have the pan that the recipe calls for. My husband and I had this bread with the stuffed shells that I previously posted about. We got a good giggle out of dinner that night. I sliced the bread and we started eating the shells and bread. Before we knew it we were just dipping the bread in the sauce from the stuffed shells. It was as if we completely forgot about the main dish and were just focusing on the appetizers or bread!
So, now that I’ve had success with this bread I have made a list of different types of breads that I want to make in the future. You’ll see those breads here very soon!
Food Processor French-Style Bread
source: King Arthur Flour website
2 packages (2 scant tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm (110°F to 115°F) water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 cups (approx.) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups 90°F water
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, for glaze
Note: Make sure your food processor will accommodate the amount of flour in the recipe. If it does not, cut the recipe in half.
Combine yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and sugar in a measuring cup. Stir until dissolved, and let sit 5 minutes, until bubbles appear.
Put all of the flour and salt into the work bowl of a food processor. Using the plastic (dough) blade, pulse four times to lighten and mix.
With the machine running, add yeast mixture, then 90°F water as fast as the flour will absorb it. Stop the machine as soon as all the liquid has been added.
Check the dough by pulsing it 7 or 8 times. It should pull together to form a ball. Watch the processor bowl where the side meets the bottom; if there are still granules of unincorporated flour, the dough is too dry. Pulse in water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls together to form a ball. If dough clings to sides of bowl, it’s too wet; gradually add more flour while pulsing.
The formation of the ball marks the beginning of the kneading process. Turn machine on and let “knead” for 60 seconds — do not let it knead any longer! If you have to use a metal blade, only “knead” 45 seconds and finish kneading by hand for 3 to 4 minutes.
Put dough into an oiled bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Turn dough out, and divide in four pieces. Roll each piece into an oval about 15 x 8 inches. Starting on the long side, roll dough into a 15-inch cylinder. Pinch edges to body of dough, tapering ends evenly.
Place dough seam-side down into well-greased baguette pans. Cover dough with a towel, and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes before baking bread, preheat oven to 425°F. Place a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.
Just before baking, slash loaves diagonally with a sharp blade, about 1/4-inch deep. Brush lightly with egg glaze. Place 1 cup of ice cubes in the hot pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. Quickly place loaves on shelf above and close door to preserve the steam you’ve created.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature of bread reaches 190°F. Immediately remove baguettes from pans and cool on a rack to prevent crust from becoming soggy. Yield: 4 baguettes.
Nutrition information per serving (2-inch slice, 24 g): 43 cal, 0 g fat, 2 g protein, 9 g complex carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 mg cholesterol, 73 mg sodium, 20 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 22 mg calcium, 15 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 6, July-August 1992 issue.