Thursday, April 14, 2011

French bread, the second time around

When I first switched to whole wheat, I made my favorite loaf of French bread and was less than excited with the results. Several weeks later, as I've become used to working with wheat flour and have found that it absorbs much more liquid that white flour, I think I know the secret to better French bread-less flour.

Here's the revised recipe.
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 3/4 - 3 cups whole white wheat flour
1 Tbsp. yeast

In a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), mix together the first four ingredients.  Add 2 cups of flour and work it in until combined.  Add yeast and stir it in.  Then add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until you have a slightly tacky, but workable dough (for me it was 2 3/4 cups).  Sprinkle your work area with flour and turn the dough out.  Knead it for 5 or so minutes until you have a smooth dough.  If you have to add a bit more flour so it isn't too sticky that's fine, but make sure you add as little as possible.  Form the dough into a ball and return it to the mixing bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Remove from the bowl, punch it down and form it into a long loaf shape.  Place it on a well greased baking sheet and cut diagonal slits in it approximately 1/2 inch deep.  Cover and let rise another 45 minutes.  Remove towel, brush with milk and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

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