One of my favorite things to have with a bit of good ham or cheese is a loaf of French Bread, cut roughly with a perhaps inadequately long knife or torn roughly while sitting on a sandy river bed. Or even a can of spam if you so desire, but maybe that's just me. At any rate, attempts at producing such a bread on my own has resulted in varying degrees of success. Some of the more authentic recipes require creating a poolish of flour and water to sit over night, and metal pans of hot water in the oven. So when I saw the KitchenAid cookbook's rendition involving no such steps, I was curious how it would turn out.
First 4.5 tbsp of yeast is dissolved in 2.5 cups of warm water in the mixer bowl.
1 tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of butter is added to 7 cups of flour.
The lot of which is put into the mixer and mixed for about a minute.
Until well blended.
After that, knead it on low for 2 minutes longer.
Ah, nothing quite as wonderfully marshmallow-y feeling as well kneaded bread.
After an hour of rising it should have doubled in bulk, and now for the fun part.
Punch it in the middle to release some of the gas.
Separate into two hunks.
And roll it into a sheet.
Ok, roll it into a slightly neater sheet.
Each sheet is rolled up into a loaf.
And set on a baking sheet which has been dusted with a healthy amount of corn meal to prevent sticking. Next time I'd consider using some parchment paper as well.
This is covered and allowed to rise to bulk up nicely for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 somewhere in the middle of the raising, and then bake for 25 minutes. Oven shots are never that lovely.
Remove and give it a nice brush with some lightly beaten egg white.
While I've made better French breads, I haven't had such a good taste to effort ratio as this. Definitely a nice few hours work rather than the production line that makes you wonder if it would be easier to go to the local baker.