Saturday, March 9, 2013

Soft French Bread

I found this great recipe from pinterest for super soft French bread. The best part? It's so super easy I think even my youngest could make this without my help.

The first batch I made barely made the day I baked it they ate it so fast! I made it again and added parsley and cheese, while reducing the sugar, to make bread sticks to go with a modified chili recipe.

Easy Soft French Bread
2 1/2 cups warm water (not hot)
1/4 cup sugar (I used half the 2nd time)
1 Tbsp dry yeast (or one packet)
6 cups flour
1/4 cup oil
1 Tbsp salt

Mix together sugar, water, yeast & 3 cups flour. Add the remaining 3 cups flour. Pour 1/4 cup oil over the flour and add the salt. Mix again until all flour is mixed in.
Cover with a clean towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then mix it back down. Repeat this process up to 5 more times, then turn out on greased counter and divide into 2 pieces.
Roll each piece into a 9x12 rectangle and roll up jelly roll style, pinching edges to seal. Place seam side down on large greased cookie sheet.
Mix one egg with 1 Tbsp water and brush on entire surfaces of both loaves. Slash the top of each loaf three times with a sharp knife and let rise at room temp until doubled in size.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks (preferrable before anyone else is around, otherwise you'll lose one loaf right away!).

I do recommend making the loaves in a size that you can easily package for storage (meaning large ziploc size). I also do not wait until the end to add salt, but add it right after I've added 3 cups of flour.

For bread sticks, use the same recipe but omit 1/2 the sugar. After the dough has been knocked down several times, roll out onto an oiled counter-top and mix in 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated cheese, 1/3 cup parsley chopped or dried flakes, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder and 1/4 cup green onion chopped (or any other combination of flavors you'd like). Work seasonings into the dough and let rest 10 minutes. Then cut off pieces about the size of a golf ball. On an oiled surface, roll out into thin sticks and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

I baked mine on a countertop pizza machine. Good thing I had plenty of dough. My husband was eating them fresh off the baking sheet! They took about 15 to 18 minutes per pan. In the oven, it should be about the same time with the added bonus that you could probably cook more at a time.


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