Friday, December 23, 2011

Betty's French Bread recipe

to: 2 cups WARM water (hotter than a baby bottle)
add: 1 1/2 tsp sugar 1 1/2 tsp oil 1 scant Tbs yeast

Let yeast dissolve 5 minutes or more. Add salt to two cups flour and stir into yeast mixture. Add more flour (as much as 5 cups total), stirring vigorously for 5 minutes. The dough will be too sticky to knead. This results in larger air holes and a wonderful chewy texture. (Betty used white unbleached flour. Stephen Westwood has used half whole wheat and even all whole wheat successfully.)

Let dough rise in covered bowl for 12-24 hours. Shape into two long narrow loaves on heavily floured board. Place on greased cookie sheet. For a "quick" 2nd rise, warm the oven to 150 degrees F . . . turn off . . . put cloth covered loaves into oven for 1 hour (or until double in size). Remove from oven. (For "regular 2nd rise, place covered read in warm place for another 12 hours.)

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake bread 15 minutes, remove, brush tops of loaves with a glaze of 1 egg and 1 Tbs water and continue baking another 15 minutes. When done, bread will sound hollow when bottom is thumped.

This bread was frequently available at Betty's (often disappearing quickly if there were any visitors!)

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