Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Whole Wheat French Bread

Yesterday I made a lame dinner.  I knew it was going to be lame but I really didn't want to go to the store to get more ingredients.  So in an effort to fool my family I decided to whip up some homemade bread.  Weird that I'd rather make bread than go to the store but this bread is done in under two hours and it doesn't involve lugging around a baby carrier and getting sidetracked in the ice cream aisle. 

Ingredients:
2 Tbs. Instant Yeast
3 Cups Warm Water (I used hot water from the tap because I know it'll cool down quickly once I pour it into my bowl)
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 scant Tbs. Salt (that means I didn't quite use a full Tbs.)
1 Tbs. Honeyville's Powdered Shortening (don't re-constitute it, just use the powder)
6-8 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (depending on the humidity levels, etc you'll use more or less)

Directions:
Pour Water into a big bowl.  Sprinkle Yeast over Water.  Allow it to sit for a minute or two.  Add Sugar, Salt, and Powder Shortening.  Stir until dissolved.  Add 3 cups of Flour and mix well.  Continue to add enough flour to make a soft dough.  (You can use a spoon for the entire time but I usually give up and finish incorporating the flour with my hands.) Let the dough raise for a TOTAL of 1 hour.  Punch the dough down 3 times during that time.  Separate dough into 2 or 3 mounds.  Roll each mound into a rectangle.  Roll the dough up jelly roll style.  Put on greased cookie sheet.  Lightly slice diagonally across the top of each loaf three times.times.  Cover and let loaves rise again until double. (I usually let them sit for about 15-20 minutes and figure that is good enough).  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  After the bread comes out of the oven I brush butter across the tops to make it extra appealing.

At this angle you should see what I mean by "jelly roll style".  Also I was a little timid with my slashes this time.  Last time I was too aggressive and cut too deep so once my loaves had risen that final time it looked severely mutilated--but still delicious.


Don't be afraid of making this recipe.  Anyone can make this bread!  I don't have a bread machine or a fancy mixer.  Something about making bread makes me feel like I can conquer just about anything (well except maybe a sewing project :) )!

And my plan worked...I totally fooled my family--they raved about the bread and completely forgot about the lameness that was also served!

Happy Eating!