Just before hitting that blast of heat.
In anticipation of the apology that I owe you for that last ‘rub it in your face’ post—and due to a frantic EMERGENCY phone call from Marty asking for my bread recipe…I have decided to post my ‘infamous’ French bread recipe in the hopes that you all will forgive me. So whip these babies up, make yourself a cup of soup, and wrap yourselves up in fleeces and blankets by the fire while I go outside to read my book in the sunshine (I think I got a sunburn today). This is especially for Marty and Bonnie and John (via Brooke) as a congratulations treat.
¼ cup hot water
2 cups warm whole milk
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
some honey (a lot or a little, depending on your taste: maybe ¼ cup)
a pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon salt
6 ½ cups of flour (ish: ish means more or less if necessary)
oil for greasing
In a bowl, combine the water and ¼ cup of the milk. Sprinkle the yeast and the pinch of sugar over the liquid and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy.
In a mixer combine the remaining milk, the butter, the honey, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until creamy. Add the yeast mixture and the remaining flour one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to an oiled deep bowl and turn the dough once to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.
Flour a smooth work surface, half the dough and role out half of it into a rectangle. Roll the dough up—like a tube—and use a knife to slash divots in it (is that a word) place on a greased cookie sheet and if you want to be really fancy sprinkle the cookie sheet with cornmeal first. Repeat with remaining dough. Then cover loosely with a cloth and let rise again (It usually takes less than an hour, but—as we’ve already determined it’s a lot warmer here) until it’s doubled. Another optional, but fancy, step is to lightly brush with egg white (this browns it real nice).
Bake in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes until the loaves are golden brown. Then slice, put some yummy butter (watch it melt), pig out, and wake up in the morning ten pounds heavier.
I guarantee you’ll love this bread and impress anyone who tries it. Good luck! If you are having any problems with this recipe…don’t call me.