Friday, October 21, 2016

French Bread

Do you know what the difference between French bread and Italian bread is? I didn't, until I started writing this blog post. 

Short story: French bread has no fats, or oils. Italian bread usually does.

Which is why this is called French bread. That, and the shape: French bread (baguettes) usually are long and tapered, Italian bread is more rounded. 

Don't you feel all educated now? (This site is actually one I found when I was googling the differences.... really interesting, if you want to read more!) 

The lack of sugar in this bread is probably why Nate likes it so much. For some reason, he doesn't have as much of a sweet tooth as I do... oh well! If I made this bread twice a week, I think he would be happy! He loves to just munch on it, or dip it in olive oil with some seasonings. (Which is apparently more of an Italian thing... we're multi-cultural, I guess!)

And, of course, Nate's teaching the boys: if mama makes bread, you get it when it's warm and fresh from the oven and just eat it. When it's cool you can do things with it, or put things on it--but warm and fresh? Just start eating. ;) 

Printable Recipe
(I didn't realize how pale this looked in the photo til I uploaded it. Really, it's much more of a golden brown color than it appears.)
French Bread

  • 5 ½ - 6 cups flour
  • 4 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup warm water (120°-130°)
  • Cornmeal, optional
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt. Add warm water to the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8-10 min). (Note: I do all this in the mixer. I love my KitchenAid!)
  2. Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 hour).
  3. Note on rising: I always warm up my oven, just slightly, and then let my bread rise in there. Don't let it get overly warm, just so that it's a few degrees warmer than your house, especially in the chilly months!
  4. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest 10 min. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet; sprinkle greased baking sheet with cornmeal (optional).
  5. Roll each dough half into a 15”x10” rectangle. Tightly roll up, starting from a long side; seal well. If desired, pinch and slightly pull ends to taper. Place shaped dough, seam sides down, on prepared baking sheet. 
  6. In a small bowl, stir together egg white and water. Brush some of the egg white mixture over loaf tops. Let rise until nearly double in size (35-45 minutes).
  7. Preheat oven to 375°. 
  8. Using a sharp knife, make 3-4 diagonal cuts about ¼” deep across each loaf top. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush again with some of the egg white mixture. Continue baking for 15-20 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Yields: 2 loaves (28 slices)
Total Time: 3 hrs

Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
89 calories/slice

Source (for original): Better Homes & Gardens (red checkered cookbook!)
Remember, comments are loved! Which do you prefer, French or Italian bread?

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