EASY FRENCH BREAD

french bread Are you a planner or a “fly by the seat of your pants gal”?

If there is something you need to know about me, it’s THIS: I don’t always do things in the most conventional way. In fact when it comes to cooking, I’m pretty unconventional I would say. I’m mostly irrational, illogical and any other “i” or “u” you can put in front of a word to describe a person with no reasonable explanation for doing the things they do when they do it. I’ve been known to START cooking a cake at 11:30 p.m., simply because I felt like taking something to work the next day and that feeling didn’t pop up until, well, until 11:25 p.m.

My hubby, bless his heart (why do people say that? Is it supposed to be meant as a compliment or is it more of a gratuitous remark when you really want to say – poor dummy? I don’t quite know, but in this instance it’s meant as a compliment), anyway my husband often stays awake with me to “accompany” me in my late night kitchen shenanigans and when a recipe takes longer than usual, he’ll depart with the usual “I tried staying up with you, but this craziness of yours”….blah, blah, then I usually send him off with a “thanks babe for staying with me as long as you could, I appreciate it.” After he makes his leave, I get back to the serious business of cooking.

So, do I always plan things?   NO! I’m sort of like Vivian….remember this “famous” movie quote?

Vivian: Do you plan everything?

Edward: Always.

Vivian: Yeah me too! I’m actually, no I’m not a planner. I would say I’m a kinda fly by the seat of your pants gal, you know moment to moment. Yeah that’s me, that’s…yeah.

Yeah, that’s me. But enough of that, we’re not quoting trivia from movies (although I come from family that LOVES doing that) I just thought I’d toss that in cause it sort of describes me in a nutshell.

So this past weekend, as I was getting over some bug, I was mulling around thinking, what I should cook for dinner (it was going on 3:00) and in my attempt to “plan” a fabulous dinner I decided to think about a little bit more while I had my coffee and looking over my ever-present phone for ideas.

I came up with nothing, NADA. Nothing except leftovers. Leftover spaghetti. Okay I decided that’s what we’ll have, I’ll just change-up the pasta. Last time I used spaghetti with the sauce, this time , this time I’ll use rigatoni pasta, BRILLIANT! Brilliant but not really blog worthy. So I tried thinking again.

I know — something quick and easy to go with the “quick and easy” meal we’re having. Only thing I could come up with was my all-time favorite….

French bread!

Really? Here it was, now 3:30 and I’m planning to make homemade French bread for dinner? Yeah, I warned you I was illogical, but guess what? It worked out and it can work for you too. This bread is so good. It has a crisp crust while the inside is so soft – just perfect for slathering butter or eating fresh from the oven just like that.

Make this bread TODAY, just don’t wait til some ungodly hour to do so because although this bread is easy you still need time for rising.  🙂

 

EASY FRENCH BREAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 ½ cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 T Kosher salt
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T cold water

 

  1. Whisk yeast and dissolve in warm water (in mixer bowl that has been warmed up with hot tap water), add in the salt, butter and flour.
  2. Attach the bowl to your mixer and affix your dough hook.
  3. Turn on your mixer (low setting) and mix until well blended, this should be about 1 minute. Keep kneading in your mixer for about 2 minutes more (NOTE: dough will be sticky but should NOT be wet). Let stand in your mixer for about 2 more minutes then place your dough in a greased bowl turning your dough so that it may grease the top.
  4. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts for about an hour or until you see your dough doubled in bulk.
  5. Punch dough down and divide in half, rolling out each half into a 12 x 15-inch rectangle. Roll dough tightly, starting from short side and tapering the ends if you so wish. Place loaves onto greased baking sheets that have been dusted with cornmeal.
  6. Cover and let rise in warm place for about an hour or until loaves are doubled in bulk.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. With a sharp knife or scissors make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf and bake for 25 minutes or until inside of dough registers 200ºF. Remove from oven. Beat egg white and water together and brush the loaf with egg mixture.
  9. Return to oven and bake 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and baking sheets immediately and let cool on wire racks.

YIELDS: 2 loaves