Quick French Bread


FrenchBreadSlicedI found this recipe via Jamie Cooks It Up. What’s great is that it makes three loaves of bread – one to eat while it’s still warm, one to serve with dinner, and one for the freezer! The bread rises in a low oven so it can be put together and baked in an hour. It’s got a nice crusty exterior, and the inside is soft – it’s a keeper!

The instructions tell you to mix up the ingredients in a stand mixer with dough hooks. No problem there – I have a Sears Counter Craft Electronic 350 Watt, Heavy – Duty Mixer with Dough Hooks, my father-in-law gave it to me when he heard that I wanted to register for a Kitchen-Aid mixer for my bridal shower. He said, “Don’t bother, I’ve got one in the basement – it’s yours!” It’s a stand mixer with two bowls, dough hooks, and beaters. It came with a light, fifteen speeds, and the bowl rotated! Judging from it’s Harvest Gold™ color – I’m guessing they bought it in the mid- 70s. So I put the various ingredients in the bowl – flour, yeast, water and turned it on low as per the instructions. Except that low wasn’t low – “low” was super-duper fast, and suddenly my black skirt and t-shirt looked like a monochromatic Jackson Pollock painting. I also realized that my mixer was weirdly vibrating on the counter – then sparks began to shoot out of it. I pulled the plug. Rest in peace, Sears Counter Craft Electronic 350 Watt, Heavy – Duty Mixer with Dough Hooks, thanks for 18 wonderful years. 

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 5 to 6 cups flour
  • 1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 170º. Pour a cup of water into a measuring cup and microwave it for 3 minutes or until the water is boiling.

2. Pour 1/3 cup of warm water into a measuring cup, add the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved.

3. In a small bowl, combine sugar, kosher salt, and shortening – mash with a fork until combined. Transfer into the bowl of a food processor using the plastic blade.

4. Pour the boiling water over the sugar, salt, shortening. Add the cup of cold water, and then the yeast. Add 3 cups of flour, and process until combined. Then add the rest of flour a half cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Touch the dough after each addition, it should have an elasticity to it, and not be sticky. Allow the machine to run for a minute to knead the dough, let rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.

5. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dump the dough on it. Spray a knife with cooking spray and cut the dough in three parts. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.

6. Take one piece of dough and flatten it out into a rectangle using your hands. Roll up the long ends, and bring the sides up. Turn the loaf over so that the seam is on the bottom, repeat with the other two loaves.

7. With a sharp knife, cut three angled slits in the dough. Crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it until frothy. Brush the loaves with the egg wash.

8. Place the loaves in the oven and let them rise for 15 minutes, they should double in size.

9. Turn your oven up to 400º – leave the loaves in the oven. When the temperature reaches 400º, bake for 15 minutes until the tops of the loaves are golden – then turn the oven down to 350º and bake for another 10 minutes.

10. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

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