Remember when I shared with you how nervous I was about working with dough? Well, I put that behind me when I began making the Buttery Bread Machine Rolls. I have been cranking out rolls, pizza, and loaves of bread over here many times since that post. I am no longer inhibited when it comes to dough and have been having a lot of fun working with it.
For bread novices, Smitten Kitchen has an excellent post on eight tips for making great bread. She goes through a picture tutorial on working with dough, the perfect temperature of the loaf, how to tell if your dough has doubled and much more! It is a great post full of information for those of you who are like me and still learning the whole bread making process.
Stephanie, over at Stop the Ride!, has also started a “Make It From Scratch” contest where everyone attempts making something from scratch that they have never done before. As she says, everyone’s take on scratch-cooking is different. For example, if making a boxed cake mix is from scratch for you…by all means, break out that Betty Crocker mix! It has been interesting to see everyone’s entries.
For my entry, I found this great bread recipe from Recipezaar.com and we had this several nights last month. For me, free forming dough was a new thing and so was making French bread. This recipe said that it was foolproof. Well, I am a fool when it came to bread and this recipe did not fail me at all! It makes two loaves of delicious French bread and they have turned out perfect every single time. We use the first loaf for dipping in olive oil with our dinner and the second loaf can get chopped up for homemade croutons, made into French toast, or it can be used for paninis. The possibilities with these loaves are endless.
I have not bought a loaf of French bread since using this recipe. It is that good…really! Enjoy!
Failproof French Bread
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 package dry yeast (or 2. 25 teaspoons of yeast if purchased in bulk)
1 1/4 cup warm water
Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturers directions. Start machine on dough setting. When dough cycle is complete, remove dough with floured hands and cut in half on floured surface. Take each half of dough and roll to make a loaf about 12 inches long in the shape of French bread. Place on greased baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450°. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning pan around once halfway during baking. Remove baked loaves to wire racks to cool.