I took advantage of a cooler summer day here in the UK yesterday and made a nice big loaf of french bread to go with a Cesar salad for our dinner. Simple and delicious. I utilize my bread machine for the heavy work of kneading and rising at just the right temperature, and it always comes out just right.
Here is the recipe I use for my bread machine:
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (olive or whatever is your preference)
- 1 tablespoons dry milk
- 1 Tablspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt (I use Kosher)
- 3 1/2 Cups of flour (I use a half and half mix of whole wheat and AP)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Add the ingredients into your bread machine as they are listed with the yeast being the absolute last thing, set your machine to 1.5 lb loaf, dough only setting, and let it go!
Once the machine is done with the dough, I turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll it out into a nice rectangle (roughly 13-9 inches) then slowly roll up from the wide end, allowing the ends of the loaf to be slightly tapered. Once your loaf is formed, put it on a baking sheet, and allow to rise for about an hour. Once it is risen well, score the loaf 3 times with a sharp knife and put into a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. (time will depend on your oven of course)
Once the bread is golden brown, pull it out of the oven and baste with 1 Tablespoon of warm water, with 1 tsp of salt dissolved into it.
(our oven here in the UK is quite a bit smaller than US standards, so I have to squish this loaf onto a smaller pan, and therefore isn't as long and lovely as normal)