Recipe by Brenda.
This recipe came with a Williams- Sonoma French Bread pan my In-Laws gave me for Christmas. (I have wonderful In-Laws :)) I have only tried this recipe in the specified pan and it is absolutely delicious! Crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The technique is a bit unusual compared to what I was used to, but it is well worth the effort. I don't know if it is the recipe, the technique, the pan, or a combination of all 3 that makes these loaves so tasty, but this is now my standard recipe. Just a note: This recipe prints out on 2 pages. Thought I'd mention it if you want to print 2 sided to save paper ;)
- 2 cups water (warm 110 F or 43 C)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 5 -5 1⁄2 cups flour (plus additional flour for dusting)
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
Directions See How It's Made
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the yeast and stir gently to mix.
- Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 4 cups of the flour and the salt. Beat on low speed just until combined.
- Slowly add the yeast mixture and beat just until incorporated about 1 minute.
- Increase the speed to medium low to medium and beat for 10 minutes adding more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (I used speed 4 on my Artisan when I still had it and now use speed 2 with my P600).
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
- Form into a ball and dust lightly with flour.
- Sprinkle a little flour into a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. 45-60 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Punch down the dough and knead for a few seconds.
- Form the dough into a ball and return to the bowl again.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. 20- 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch down.
- Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball.
- Let rest 5 minutes.
- Line a french bread pan with a clean kitchen towel (a large flour sack towel works well) and sprinkle with a little flour.
- Roll each ball into a log with tapered ends, about the length of the pan, and place on the towel in the pan. Cover with the overhanging edges of the towel and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
- Position an oven rack in the lowest position of the oven, and place a baking pan 1/3 full of boiling water on the rack.
- Preheat oven to 425 F (220C).
- Gently lift the towel holding the loaves off of the pan, taking care not to let the loaves touch each other and set on a work surface.
- Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and using the towel as a guide gently flip each loaf into a well in the pan.
- Brush off excess flour.
- Using a sharp knife, make 3-5 diagonal slashes in the loaves about 1/4 inch deep (6mm).
- Brush with the beaten egg white mixture.
- Bake on center rack until the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 30-35 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool the loaves in the pan until room temperature.