I am in love with the recipe book I have recently inherited. Another day, another keeper! This French Bread recipe was a bit more labor intensive than the Basic White Bread recipe but it was well worth it. It needed to be proofed three times and you had to mist it three times while baking (I assume this helps form the yummy crust). It came out very similar to the fancy french bread we buy downstairs! The only difficult part was rolling it out and shaping it but I guess that comes with experience. One loaf came out decent but the other is a little stumpy. I whipped up some delicious Parmesan Chive Butter to accompany this lovely loaf. P.S. Look how the diagonal slashes make it look like legit french bread!
(From Mary Gubser's Quick Breads, Soups and Stews)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups warm water
1 package quick-rising dry yeast
1. Mix yeast and water, stir till dissolved and set aside. In the food processor mix the flour and salt, pulse to combine. With the processor running drizzle in the yeast-water mixture. When the dough forms remove it to a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let proof for one hour. Punch down the dough and knead lightly, let rise for an additional 10-15 minutes.
2. Split the dough into two separate balls. Roll one portion out into a 12x8 rectangle and then roll it up from the long side, jelly roll style! Pinch the seam and taper the ends. Repeat with the second portion. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover. Set aside to proof again, until doubled, about 30-35 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450. Make three diagonal slashes on each loaf. Lightly mist the loaves with water and spray the inside of the oven, set the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. After the first three minutes open the oven and spray the loaves. Spray again in three more minutes. Let cool on wire racks.