My husband and my daughter: "Can you bake bread today, please!"
This is one of their favorites and I found it in an OLD, OLD book:
Adapted from "A World of Breads"
This is about as authentic a French bread as you can make in a home
oven. To make real French bread, you need unbleached, hard-wheat flour
(available in health food stores), and an oven with the heat coming
from top, bottom and both sides.
If you place a pan of boiling water on the oven floor, and
sprinkle the cookie sheets with cornmeal after
buttering them, you can approximate the commercial product.
N.B.: To me, this is the ** secret ** the 1/2 inch of boiling water
which I place in a glass pyrex (12 inch pie plate) and put in the
bottom of the oven SEEMS to do the trick when it comes to a crusty
outside (but not too thick) on French Bread; be sure to bake your
bread on the lowest oven rack.
1 cake yeast (or 1 Tablespoon) 1 Tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 cupslukewarm water 2 teaspoons salt
4 cups sifted flour
1 egg white slightly beaten with
1 Tablespoon of water (egg glaze)
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Sift the dry ingredients, stir them
into the yeast mixture, and work the dough with your hands until it
will absorb no more flour. Knead the dough on a slightly floured
board until it is no longer sticky. Place the dough in a buttered
bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Then punch it down and turn
it out onto a floured board. Divide into 2 parts. Shape each piece
into a long, narrow loaf. Place the loaves on a greased cookie sheet
that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, cover, and let rise again
(until doubled in size). Brush tops with egg-white glaze (1 egg white
slightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water) and bake in a 400 degree
over for 35 to 40 minutes. Brush again with glaze about 5 minutes
before loaves are done. Makes 2 small loaves or 1 large one.
[Optional: for those with HOT ovens: bake bread at 400 degrees for
first 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees for next
DAK & WELBILT Breadmaker owners/users:
Put 2 cups of flour in breadmaker, add 1 Tablespoon of fast
rising yeast, add another 2 cups of flour, the sugar,
salt and increase the warm water to 1-3/4 Cups and add to
the breadmaker and select French Bread - Manual. Push Start.
Let dough be kneaded by breadmaker and leave it in the breadmaker for
the first rising (1 hour) - just when the breadmaker begins to knead
the bread again, take it out and punch it down onto a lightly floured
board. Follow recipe above from "divide into 2 parts" etc.
(Yes, I know the breadmaker says only 3.5 cups of flour but if you
increase the warm water to 1-3/4 cups it can handle the kneading and
it does a great job!)
ONION FRENCH BREAD. Add 1 package onion-soup mix to the dry
ingredients and blend thoroughly. If you like an onion flavor in
bread, you may occasionally add a package of onion soup mix to any
plain bread dough with delightful results.
Patricia Ann Bromberger, System Manager --- Tramway Unix Systems
Burnaby, B.C., Canada