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Friday, February 24, 2012

Genevieve's French Bread

I'm in this Dinner Swap group.  Maybe you've heard about it.  Every time it's my cooking day I wonder why I'm doing it.  Then the other three nights, when a hot dinner arrives in Gladware containers, I remember the many reasons.

Anyway.  There are eight of us in the group, making two groups of four, which rotate each month.  One month, when I was not in her group, I had two separate reports of the DIVINE French bread my friend Genevieve had made for dinner.  Well.  I gave her a call straight away to get the recipe.

She was at the doctor's office or something and said she'd have to email it to me later.  But that I would need one of these, which I ordered tout de suite.  Then within the hour I received a text from her - the recipe was so simple and easy she could remember it, and texted it to me on the spot.

Keep in mind, this was a family recipe that she got from her sister-in-law.  And as we know, family recipes are famous for leaving out crucial details.  So the first time I made it, I called Genevieve at least four times to find out things like, how long does it rise, what consistency should the dough be, how many slashes in the bread, etc.  Details.

This bread is so easy it's almost embarrassing.  Start to finish under 2 hours for sure, you could even do it between an hour and hour-and-a-half.  You just need the pan.  And my flushed-out recipe with all the proper instructions!
 Genevieve's French Bread (print recipe)
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 T active dry yeast
2 T sugar
2 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1.  Combine the water, yeast and a pinch of sugar.  Allow to proof for a few minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, sugar, salt and flour and mix/knead for about 5 minutes until well combined.  Dough will be very wet & sticky.

2.  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise for 15 minutes (it rises quickly but this is flexible - if you don't get to it for 20-25 minutes it will still be OK.)

3.  Preheat oven to 450.

4.  Punch down dough and shape into two oblong loaves, about 13 inches long each.  You will need a lot of flour on your hands and work surface to do this.  Place loaves in perforated French bread pan.  Using sharp clean kitchen shears, snip about six diagonal slashes in the bread, about 1/2-inch deep.  Brush loaves with beaten egg white.  Cover lightly with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise for 15 minutes (this time is not so flexible - you don't want them to over-rise and spill out of the pan.)

5.  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until medium golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool.  Makes two AMAZING loaves!

Recipe from Genevieve's sister-in-law

1 comment:

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