dense, crusty, bread
February 19, 2011 § 6 Comments
Something that I love very, very much is homemade bread. Aside from tasting delicious, making it is a whole lot of fun and always leaves the house smelling deliciously yeasty and warm. Most of the breads I’ve made took extra planning, lots of time, and careful watching in the oven. (Okay, so that last part is just my being paranoid.) For this reason, I know a lot of people shy away from making their own bread because they think it’s too difficult or too time consuming.
I’ll be honest, I felt the same way about making bread until I found this recipe. I’ll be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first and thought “How could bread be that easy? Isn’t it supposed to be finicky and annoying?” But at the same time, I’ve never been one to turn down a carb, so I rolled up my sleeves and started measuring flour.
What resulted after a mere hour and a half was a deceptively delicious loaf. After letting it cool, I sliced through the crisp crust and dense crumb to enjoy a slice of slightly sweet, warm, homemade bread. And because it was so easy and good, I went and made another one.
Crusty French Bread
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16 in. long x 2-1/2 in. wide with tapered ends. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
Brush some oil over dough and sprinkle a little coarse salt (optional). With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 inches apart across top of loaf. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.