Authentic French Bread

5:18 AM

Tonight we had french dips (will post later) and I decided to make the bread too.  I found this recipe at this site devoted to bread machine recipes (LOVE this site!), and this recipe is pretty flexible too.  I didn't quite know what I was doing when I was shaping my bread, but it turned out just fine.  And I loved using the oven to make the bread rise, I think I will have to start doing that from now on (can you tell I'm still so new to this?) Anyways, the bread was really good and really big, which was pretty fun dipping in the au jus since it soaked up so much (mmmmmm).  While I really liked this bread, it still doesn't taste quite like what you can find at a store or bakery, but it may be very well the type of flour I'm using (which I have a very limited selection).  Hope you have fun making your very own French bread!

Authentic French Bread
Yields 1 loaf

1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoon yeast

1.  Place all ingredients except cornmeal in breadpan. Select dough setting and start.
When dough cycle finishes, turn dough onto a floured countertop or cutting board. Shape the dough into 12" oblong loaf, 1 large round loaf, 2 18" baguettes, or 8 french rolls.

2.  Dust the top with a little flour; rub it in. Place on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm oven 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled. To warm oven slightly, turn on warm setting for two minutes then turn it off. Be sure to remove bread from the oven to preheat.

3.  Place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 450˚.  Immediately before placing bread in oven, slash tops with a very sharp knife about 1/2" deep.

4.  Bake round or oblong loaves 20 minutes, baguettes about 15 minutes, french rolls bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

5.  This is best served within hours of baking. To preserve crisp crust, do not store in plastic wrap or bags.

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