Saturday, July 14, 2012

3 Hours to Delicious French Bread!

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted fresh, delicious french bread with dinner, but didn't have any on hand.

I've seen literally dozens of recipes out there for one hour french bread, and I've tried several. I found that the dough just didn't rise enough and the bread turned out like rocks! I decided to try my hand at creating a french bread that you could make in time for dinner, but doesn't take all day. What I found was that in three short hours, you can have a hot, delicious loaf (or two!) of french bread to serve up!

PS - This bread is SO good when topped with my bruschetta!

3 Hour French Bread

3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (plus more for dusting board)
1 package of rapid rise dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 teaspoons of salt
Spray oil (like pam)

Put flour, yeast and water in the mixer. Using your dough hook attachment, mix on medium for about 30 seconds. Add salt. Continue to mix until the dough comes together, then mix for three more minutes. Add more flour if the dough continues to stick to the sides. If the dough is too dry, add more warm water. (Add water or flour in increments of 1 tablespoon, so as not to over-add). Once completely mixed, turn mixer off and let the dough rest.

While it's resting, prepare your board with flour. Also, get a glass bowl out, along with some plastic wrap and your spray oil.

After letting the dough rest for a few minutes, turn it out on your board and knead it until the dough is smooth and tight.

Place in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Turn your oven LIGHT on (not your oven!) and place the bowl inside. The oven light will keep the oven just warmer than your house and will help the dough rise. Allow your dough to rise for about an hour, or until it doubles.

Turn dough back out onto a floured surface. Divide in half (for 2 loaves) and form into loaf shapes. Slash the top to vent the bread while it's cooking (see picture above).

Spray the bottom back of a baking sheet with oil spray. Cover the dough and let it rise for about 30 minutes on the inverted baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 450.

Right as you put the bread in the hot oven, toss half a cup or so of water into the bottom of the oven floor. Slam the door closed! This will create steam. I like to do this when baking bread, but if this worries you, you can use a cast iron skillet. Just keep the skillet in the oven, on the lowest rack. Let it heat up and get SUPER hot, and toss the water into the skillet.

Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes.

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