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Old 01-19-2009, 03:25 PM   #1
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ISO help/tips for making French bread

Has anyone ever attempt to make it before? I tried once...it was...decent. The out crust was a little too crusty and the inside wasn't soft enough...it was on the mushy dough-ey end.

Just wondering if anyone had ever tried...and could possibly give me some tips.

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Old 01-19-2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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I've never tried, but I have heasrd that they use a special flour which helps give the right flavour and texture
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:16 PM   #3
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Making french bread is a two day affair. The first day you make the biga, which is like a sponge of flour and yeast and sugar. The second day, you make the dough, and gently add the biga (cut up) into the dough. Then you let it rise again.

Bake in a very hot oven, misting the walls with water as it bakes. You'll get the crusty outside and the light and airy inside.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:26 PM   #4
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My 1st attempt turned out PERFECT...... if you don't mind picking out the glass.... I managed to spray water right onto the lightbulb in the oven and exploding it....
yes, that was a bummer, but my dear sweet husband picked at it and ate it anyway.
:)
Attempt#2 resulted almost burnt, as I managed to spray this time into the empty light socket, temporarily messing with the digital temp display and timer..... my setting to 450 for 25-30 min ended up at 550 for 14 hours.........
I WILL SUCCEED!!!!!
stay tuned.
:)
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suziquzie View Post
My 1st attempt turned out PERFECT...... if you don't mind picking out the glass.... I managed to spray water right onto the lightbulb in the oven and exploding it....
yes, that was a bummer, but my dear sweet husband picked at it and ate it anyway.
:)
Attempt#2 resulted almost burnt, as I managed to spray this time into the empty light socket, temporarily messing with the digital temp display and timer..... my setting to 450 for 25-30 min ended up at 550 for 14 hours.........
I WILL SUCCEED!!!!!
stay tuned.
:)
I'm sorry Suzi.......I laughed so hard at this I spit my beer out on my laptop screen!
I have a feeling that's one bread I don't think I'm trying. Good luck on the next one.

Barb

s
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:07 PM   #6
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I've posted this before and some folks have tried it and liked it. Hope it helps...
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:18 PM   #7
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thanks so much. i will attempt again.
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suziquzie View Post
My 1st attempt turned out PERFECT...... if you don't mind picking out the glass.... I managed to spray water right onto the lightbulb in the oven and exploding it....
yes, that was a bummer, but my dear sweet husband picked at it and ate it anyway.
:)
Attempt#2 resulted almost burnt, as I managed to spray this time into the empty light socket, temporarily messing with the digital temp display and timer..... my setting to 450 for 25-30 min ended up at 550 for 14 hours.........
I WILL SUCCEED!!!!!
stay tuned.
:)
Suzie,

Put an old cookie sheet or cast iron fry pan on the floor of your oven, then pour a cup of hot water (from the tap) into it when you put your bread in the oven. Close the door and you won't have to do the repeated spraying schtick, and keep blowing out bulbs. This method works great.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:53 PM   #9
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Well, I'm coming into this thread pretty late. But, I just learned to bake yeast bread and have now successfully made french bread 3 times!!!

It was definitely not a two day process.

I watched the video JoeV recommended, very good.

I also watched this one: PBS: Julia Child: Lessons with Master Chefs: Free Samples

This is Julia Child and Danielle Forestier.

Watching both of those videos really summed it up for me. Here is the recipe I used:

French Bread

2 packages dry yeast
2-1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
6 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
Make sure water temperature is 110 to 115 degrees F. Place water in a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes until yeast dissolves and starts to bubble. Stir in 2 cups flour and salt. Cover and let rise for 1/2 hour.

Then gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. (Knead by pressing on the dough, then folding over and pressing with the heel of your hand.) Then clean the large mixing bowl, grease it with solid shortening, and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it in the bowl so the dough is greased (this prevents the top from cracking as it rises).

Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2-1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk. With your fist, punch down the dough. Divide in half and place one half on a lightly floured surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 12x6" rectangle. Starting with the 12" side, roll up tightly. Seal seams and edges by pinching. Repeat with remaining dough.

Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves on prepared sheet. Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray the loaves with a bit of water, then using a blade, made a few slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until loaves are golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on wire rack.

Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:13 AM   #10
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Yep, pretty simple stuff when you get right down to it. My only alteration to that recipe would be to specify Instant Yeast, and you eliminate that yeast proofing step. IMHO, I think it's archaic, and just a way to extract more money from the casual baker. If you bake on a regular basis you should consider buying bulk yeast in 1# packages and just keep it in your freezer. It will last up to 2 years if properly sealed, and costs about $5 + shipping if bought online. I get it at my restaurant supply for $2.48 per pound, or you can get it at Sam's Club, but you have to buy 2 of them for about $5.

The 2-day (or more) process of making French Bread will give you a much different tasting loaf of bread. I initially poo-ppo'd this method when I first learned to bake bread, until I started experimenting with aging dough in the fridge. I make bread both ways, it just depends on what I'm trying to accomplish on that given day.

Joe
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