Adapted from Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons or 1 1/2 packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
about 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
corn meal for sprinkling
1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water for egg wash glaze
in your heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment pour in the warm water and sprinkle with yeast and sugar over the surface of the water (okay so my bowl is steel, I choose to use my glass measuring cup for this step to avoid any reactive issues with the yeast and steel) Stir until yeast dissolves. Let set until foamy about 10 minutes.
Add 2 cups bread flour and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the bread flour and most of the all-purpose flour until a shaggy dough that clears the sides of the bowl forms.
Switch to your dough hook to begin the kneading process for 1 to 3 minutes when the dough is smooth and springy. Place your dough in a large glass bowl that is lightly greased. Turn the dough once to coat with the oil. Cover with a damp cotton towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I chose to go for the full two hours. This long rising time really adds flavor to your bread.
When the dough has doubled in size gently deflate and shape into 2 french loves or 3 baguettes. I got some cool french bread pans for Christmas these are amazing and really made a nice crust. If you don't have them, line a cookie sheet with parchment and sprinkle generously with corn meal. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
pre-heat your oven for 20 minutes at 400
Slash two to three slats into your bread. Now here is the secret to crusty french bread two things, Brush the egg wash over the tops of your loaves. Next put an old cookie sheet on the lowest rack in your oven while pre-heating. Right before you put in your bread put some water in the cookie sheet. This creates the environment needed for good crusty bread.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until bread is crusty and sounds hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon. Eat it right away or allow to cool on a cooling rack.
rising bread & cooling chocolate chiffon cake
Cake coming soon in favorite things pt. 2