h1

The Thursday Gourmet

5 March, 2009

Keep in mind of course, that in (((Wife)))’s dictionary, gourmet actual means ‘destroy the kitchen,’ so if you decide to follow one of my recipes (which I will post on Thursdays (I’m branching out a little bit (and trying to make the world a better place (or at least a better tasting place)))) I take neither credit nor blame for what happens to your cooking area.

Light* French Bread 

*’Light’ refers to texture, not caloric count.

This is a variation on a French Bread recipe I found years ago.  I use a giant stand mixer (Ferrari Red (it was my midlife crisis sports car)), so modify the recipe depending upon the power tools to be found within your kitchen (and the tolerance of your significant other).

2 eggs (separated (no lawyer needed for this separation))
About 4 cups of flour (I use a 50/50 mix of King Arthur bread flour and King Arthur unbleached white flour
About 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons live active yeast
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter (or good margarine) (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Separate the eggs (save the yolks).  Whip the egg whites until very stiff and dry (make sure the bowl is grease free and cool). 

Warm the mixer bowl with hot water.  Put 2 cups of the white flour in the bowl, along with the yeast, honey and salt.  Mix briefly with the flat beater.  Add the water and mix with the flat beater for about 5 minutes (until the batter starts to get a little stringy).  Add the egg whites and fold them into the batter with the flat beater.

Switch to the dough hook and add the butter and 1 1/2 cup white flour plus the whole wheat flour.  Continue to add flour a little at a time until the dough has pulled away from the sides of bowl (If you have never made bread before, this gets a little tricky.  As the dough is kneaded under the dough hook, it should clean the inside of the bowl.  An area about the size of a quarter (about 2.5cm for you furriners) should stick to the bottom of the bowl (the amount of flour added depends on the humidity and the moisture level of your flour)).  Continue to knead the dough for about 15 minutes (this develops the gluten so the dough will rise nicely).

Form the dough into a ball and set aside.  Lightly grease the bowl (a little butter or margarine), set the dough ball back in the bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth.  Allow it to rise in a warm (not hot) place until it has doubled in size.

Once it has doubled, use your fist to punch down the dough.  Divide the dough in half.  Use a rolling pin or pastry pin and roll each ball out into a rough rectangle about 14 inches by 10 inches.  Brush the upper surface with a small (repeat SMALL!) amount of water.  Roll the dough tightly into a long cylinder and place on a large cookie sheet (If the cookie sheet is non-stick, you’re cool.  If it’s not, spray the sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or rub some butter on it (the cookie sheet, not the. . . .  Well. . . .)) seam side down.  Repeat with the second ball of dough (make sure the batons are about 3 inches apart so they won’t touch as they rise the second time).  Use a sharp knife and make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes about 1/4 inch deep on the top of each baton.  Gently beat the egg yolks (add a little water if they have gotten too thick) and brush on the bread (if you want to add, say, sesame seeds, quinoa, salt, or other grippy substance to the top, now would be the time). 

Cover with warm dry kitchen towel (make sure there is no cat hair on it (unless you want lots of non-dietary fibre)) and allow to rise until doubled in size.

Place in a cold oven and set to bake at 375F (190C) and allow to bake for about 45 minutes (by putting the bread in a cold oven, it will rise nicely as the oven warms).  Keep an eye on it.  Each oven is different.

This loaf is a favourite in my family.  The egg whites make for a high-protein bread which is very light (4 1/2 cups of flour make two good size loafs).  It is also excellent as pizza crust.

I plan to make this a weekly event (at least until I run out of recipes).

Advertisements

6 comments

  1. I like this recipe. I got a bread machine for Christmas, and I LOVE experimenting. Homemade french bread is right up my ally.

    Your wife have a recipe for raisin/cinnamon bread.


  2. […] (((Billy))) The Atheist placed an observative post today on The Thursday GourmetHere’s a quick excerptKeep in mind of course, that in (((Wife)))’s dictionary, gourmet actual means ‘destroy the kitchen,’ so if you decide to follow one of my recipes (which I will post on Thursdays (I’m branching out a little bit (and trying to make the world a better place (or at least a better tasting place)))). Light* French Bread  *’Light’ refers to texture, not caloric count. This is a variation on a French Bread recipe I found years ago.  I use a giant stand mixer (Ferrari Red (it was my midlife cris […]


  3. I also have the large ferrari red mixer. 🙂 However, I suck at bread making. I’m just not patient enough.


  4. Grrr. I want the Ferrari mixer. I’m still mixing dough by hand, and it sucks.

    Very nice recipe though, I may try it soon.


  5. Baking is too anal for me.


  6. Michelle: I have a good recipe for cinnamon snails, but (((Wife))) does not do raisins, so no dice on cinnamon raisin bread. Sorry.

    Poodles: The nice thing about bread is (for most recipes) you cannot over-knead the dough. Try using quick-rise yeast (cuts the rise time in half). I find baking works real well when I’m watching sports since it is five minutes of doing something, then letting it sit for an hour or two.

    Kate: Keep your eyes open in pawn shops, Salvation Army stores, etc. Some of the stand mixers show up. Not often, but they do. When I first started to make bread, I did it all by hand. (((Wife))) was not happy with the condition of the kitchen.

    Philly: Bread is an art. The recipes are suggestions. If ten people use the same recipe for bread, each will come out with a different loaf. I thought you were the artistic type?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: