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-   -   Is French Bread unattainable? (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f23/is-french-bread-unattainable-30342.html)

Mel! 12-22-2006 05:26 AM

Is French Bread unattainable?
U know that French bagette bread, one can buy in shops and bakeries?
Crusty on the outside, and soft, white and fluffy, on the inside.

Can one make bread, like this at home? Or can it only be made in factories, with special machines.


Candocook 12-22-2006 05:54 AM

Probably not at home without a steam injection system and brick ovens, etc.

college_cook 12-22-2006 08:37 AM

It's probably just a matter of baking at the right temps. I used to work at a grocery store and the bakery made all of their bread from scratch. They have special ovens to accomodate the sheer volume of things they bake, but no brick, and no steam injector.

Sararwelch 12-22-2006 09:18 AM

Some things that help with the crust are using a baking/pizza stone and creating steam in the oven. There are a couple ways to do this. Some people toss ice cubes into a preheated pot that's in the oven, I usually put a pot of boiling water under the rack that the bread is baking on (I always use a pizza stone), and sometimes I mist the oven walls every so often with water - be really careful if you're misting the oven walls, if you get water on the oven lights they can shatter

JDP 12-22-2006 10:40 AM

I have been making a bread recipe that came along with my Cuisinart and its is as good as the store pought loaves and a lot cheaper than $3 a loaf. Here is the recipe.

1# flour
2t fine sea salt
1 pack instant yeast
1 1/4 C water

Put dry ingredients into the bowl with the dough blade. Take temperatur of mix. Measure out warm water. The water temp should be 145 minus the flour temp. (Example Flour is 70 degrees the water should be 75 degrees. With the machine running on dough speed pour and water and let run for 45 seconds. Put into an ungreased bowl and let set 2 hours covered with plastic.

Punch down bread and let rest for 15 minutes. Cut inot 2 equal portions and shape. Let stand another hour.

Put a pan on bottom shelf of oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Cut crosses into the tops of the loaves and place on baking stone. Pour boiling water into pan in oven and reduce heat to 425. Bake 30-40 minutes.

Let stand 30 minutes after baking if you can stand to.

This is a great bread recipe. I'm also attachinf a recipe from Good Eats I saw the other night and am waiting to try.

Recipes : Very Basic Bread : Food Network


JDP 12-22-2006 01:53 PM

I forgot to add that with the first recipe you can aslo add kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, chipotle peppers, fresh herbs directly to the dry ingredients to create flavored breads.


Candocook 12-22-2006 02:00 PM

There is little doubt that excellent tasting and good looking breads can be made in home ovens and bakery ovens.
The question was--can you duplicate a true French baguette and I think that is VERY difficult without some serious extras like the steam--and the French flour. The NYTimes bread was really devised to sort of duplicate that type of "oven within an oven" that is very moist.

Walt Bulander 12-22-2006 04:23 PM

Yes you can. I do.

Use bread flour. ( I use King Arthur)
Use the sponge method.
Be sure your yeast is fresh.
They shape better with baguette pans. You can sometimes find them on eBay cheap.
Get some good instructions and read them through. Shirley Coriherrs book Cookwise has some excellent ones. Also:Bake a great French baguette
Keep trying.

My first attempt: disaster
2nd: edible
3rd: wonderful!
4th: disaster, and I didn't think I did anything different!
5th through 20th: Got better and I learned from each attempt.

Don't make when the grandkids are coming over. You won't get any!!!!

Mel! 12-23-2006 03:18 PM

What good ideas Sararwelch
Especailly the ice cubes.
I did not know that steam is the secret.
I usuallly put a bowel of water, in the oven, when i bake bread, but maybe this is not enough to make the amount of steam needed. I think i will try the ice cube idea, next time.


Mel! 12-23-2006 03:25 PM

Thanks Walt and JDP

Is it a special bread mixing machine, u use, to mix the bread?
Steam and mixing in a machine. I never did these things. Maybe they will be what works.
Hopefully it will work, with ordinary white flour. I have no idea where i would buy special French flour here.


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