I love a nice warm, fresh out of the oven loaf of bread.
It is the perfect addition to any meal as far as I’m concerned. The only downside to fresh, homemade bread is that it can take a bit of time. Proofing, rising, rolling, rising etc. Today’s recipe is a quick and easy one. It may not be quite as quick as the 30 Minute Roll recipe I have on my blog but it is pretty close. This recipe makes one nice size loaf or two smaller loaves. I usually make two. We enjoy one and I give the other one away. The dough is mixed up with a bread hook in your Kitchen aid or other mixer of choice. Then I just leave it in the bowl, cover it with a towel and let it rise until doubled – about 20 minutes or so depending on how warm my kitchen is. It’s pretty fast. At this point if I am in a generous, sharing mood I will divide the dough into two pieces so that I can make two loaves. If I’m not in a generous mood I roll it out in one big piece using my rolling pin. Be sure and flour your counter enough so that the dough doesn’t stick. Then roll it up jellyroll style and place the seam side down. With a sharp knife cut three slits into the bread. Be sure and only go about 1/4 inch deep. If you go too deep your bread may look a little funny after it rises the second time. (Ask me how I know this!)
Give the bread a nice little bath in an egg white wash (just add 1 Tbsp water to 1 egg white and mix together) Heat up a pan of water on the stove until it boils. Have your oven preheated to 300 degrees and TURN OFF. Then place the pan of boiling water onto the lower rack of your oven and place your loaf of bread on the rack above. Allow the bread to rise until double (about 20 minutes or so).
Please excuse my dirty oven. The steam that is given off from the water helps the loaf get that nice crust that a loaf of French bread has. Remove the pan of water from the oven and turn the oven onto 425 degrees. Bake bread for 10 minutes and then turn heat down to 375 degrees and bake for another 8 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy a nice, warm loaf of home baked bread with dinner! Easy French Bread
recipe slightly adapted from Cooks.com
1/4 C warm water
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 – 4 C flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water
1 egg white and 1 Tbsp water
Combine water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl. Allow to stand until bubbly. Add in sugar, salt and water. Gradually add in flour, mix well and knead for 5 minutes. Let rise for 15 – 20 minutes in a warm place. If you want to make two smaller loaves, divide dough in half. Flour a surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Then roll up the dough jelly roll style and turn ends under and place seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet. Cut 3 diagonal cuts into the loaf about 1/4 inch deep. Combine water and egg white and mix. Brush onto loaf. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Boil a pan of water. Pour water into a shallow dish and place on the lower rack in oven. TURN OFF OVEN. Place sheet with bread on the rack above the water. Let rise until double and then take out the pan of water. Turn oven onto 425 degrees and bake 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 375 and bake for 8 more minutes or until golden brown.