- 3-3.5 Cups flour (the recipe called for Gold Medal or Better for Bread flour. I used a store brand that was unbleached and unbromated)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package regular or quick active dry yeast--2.25 teaspoons (I used a package of regular)
- 1 Cup very warm water--120-130 degrees Farenheit (use your oven thermometer)
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tablespoon cold water
I also added 2 Tablespoons of dried rosemary
The recipe starts with,
- I large bowl, mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast (and the rosemary). Add warm water and oil. Beat with electric mixer (I used a wooden spoon, rubber scraper, and my fingers) on low speed one minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1/2 Cup at a time to make dough easy to handle dough will be soft
Where I screwed up, was I read 3 Cups of flour. This meant I had a very dry dough on my hands. I added 2 more Tablespoons of olive oil and another Tablespoon of water and that brought it together pretty well. That got me a soft damp dough.
I followed the rest of the recipe closely, using the variant at the end to make rolls instead of loaves.
- On lightly floured surface, knead dough about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Grease large bowl with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in warm place 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size. (Rising time is longer than times for traditional breads, which gives the typical French bread texture.) Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched. (I go for the full two hours. If your kitchen isn't that warm, you can turn the oven on to 200 degrees F to warm it up a bit. Or start baking something else. My friend Rick, who lives in Florida told me he puts his out in his car. I can't make this shit up.)
- Grease large cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Gently push fist into dough to deflate; divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half into 15 x 8-inch rectangle. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 15-inch side, to form a loaf. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Roll gently back and forth to taper ends. Place both loaves on cookie sheet.
- Cut 1/4-inch-deep slashes across tops of loaves at 2-inch intervals with sharp knife.
- Brush loaves with cold water. Let rise uncovered in warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix egg white and 1 tablespoon cold water; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seed. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool.
Tips and variants
- If you prefer a more crunchy crust to this delightful bread, spray the loaves with water right before baking and add a pan of water to the oven.
Crusty Hard Rolls:
- Grease large cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. After deflating dough, divide into 12 equal parts. Shape each part into a ball; place on cookie sheet. Brush rolls with cold water. Let rise uncovered about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 425°F. In small bowl, mix egg white and 1 tablespoon cold water; brush over rolls. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seed. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until brown. 12 rolls.
Where I need some work with rolls is mine were not exactly round and pretty. Taste test indicates they are a go. We won't eat all 12, so the rest will go for snacks with cheese and fruit.