French Loaf

I miss the local Boulangeries in France, with all the amazing pastries and warm baguettes. This recipe is from the NYT Cookbook, and I was thinking that it was for a baguette; I was very wrong. The bread is more of a sandwich bread, not as crispy and crunchy as baguettes are. This is the perfect loaf for weekend sandwiches, garlic bread, or even homemade croutons. Bread-skill wise I give this about a 2.5/5 difficulty.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 TSP Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Lukewarm Water
  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • 2 TBSP Unsalted Butter
  • 3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 TSP Salt

Let’s Get Bakin’

In a small bowl, blend the yeast + lukewarm water until the yeast is dissolved, let sit until foamy.

In a small saucepan, combine the cold water + butter. Heat on LOW until the butter melts.

Combine the flour + salt and mix well. Add in the yeast mixture and combine using a mixer or your hands. Add in the dissolved butter and mix until it forms a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough quickly and gently into a ball. Place the dough ball into a buttered bowl and let rest covered for about 30-40 minutes.

After the first rise, turn out into a lightly floured surface and briefly knead and shape into a ball. Return to the bowl and cover and let rest for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

After the second rise, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, roll into a loose ball, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Turn the dough seam side up and flatten with your fingers into a rough rectangle shape. Fold one-third of the dough toward the center of the rectangle, then roll it up like a jelly roll.

Transger the loaf to a baking sheet seam down and the ends folded under. The NYT says the loaf should be about 13 1/2 in long.

Cover with a clean town and let proof again for about 15-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Using a sharp knife cut 3 parallel diagonal slashes in the top of the dough.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and put 4 ice cubes into the floor of the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then add an additional 4 ice cubes.

Turn the pan and bake for 10 more minues. Reduce the heat to 400F and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Use for sandwiches, make garlic bread, dip in your soup, do whatever you please with it!

Enjoy,

Hannah

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