I really don’t have any words to describe stuffing warm French bread into your mouth. It is beyond delicious.
Everyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows I am in love with all forms of carbs, particularly bread. Who eats the last piece of bread in the bread basket at a restaurant? This girl. Even if I have already eaten all the other pieces myself.
This weekend I was very sick. Like, lock-myself-in-the-house-bundled-up-in-sweats-and-be-really-pathetic sick. I decided making bread was the one thing that would comfort me in my desperate hour of need.
I know I know, I am being a tad dramatic again….
I really hate being sick. Especially when I have plans. I had big plans this weekend to be productive and see people I haven’t seen for months. I was going to organize, socialize, and accomplish things but alas, I was resigned to the couch, forcefully I might add. I kept trying to get up to get things done but my hubby wouldn’t let me. He kept telling me to rest and I just kept pretending not to be sick…
Let me remind you never to be around me when I am sick. I am either an unruly child who wants to play despite being sick or I am a whiny pathetic mess. It’s so sad.
However, I had to get up and move around a little bit to avoid going completely insane. Therefore I decided to make some fresh bread to help me with my recovery. Kneading the bread and rolling it out wiped me out just a bit, but that wonderfully delicious warm fresh French bread made every extra effort worth it.
French Bread (from Paula Deen)
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 (1/4 oz) envelopes active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
7 to 8 cups bread flour
In a medium bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes or until mixture is foamy.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil and salt. Add yeast mixture, beating at low-speed with a mixer until smooth. Gradually add 5 cups of flour, beating until smooth. Gradually beat in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover, and let stand in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Lightly grease a baguette pan or a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of dough into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle. Roll up dough, jelly roll style, starting at 1 long side. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Place on prepared pan; cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Using a sharp knife make diagonal slashes about 1 inch apart on top of each loaf.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Let cool on pan 10 minutes. remove from pan and cool on wire rack.