Back to that HomeMade French Bread, Cooking within a Budget!

Posted: July 28, 2012 in Ron Paul GOP (S)election!

It’s easy!  It takes a couple of hours, but most of that time is spent waiting for the bread to rise.  So, you can pop-in a movie or get involved in a post, during most of the “work”.

Here’s the recipe (sort of) I use for bread, and you can pretty much change it into any other kind of bread, other than white- or French-bread. I’ve done it so many times, I really don’t use a recipe, and I am giving this to you as it usually goes.

In a non-metal bowl with about 1/4 cup of warm water (or half water and half milk), sprinkle 2 tablespoons quick-rise yeast.  I like to also add about a half a teaspoon of sugar (or honey or barley-sweetener). Cover it for about five minutes, til the yeast is soft. Add a cup of flour (either unbleached or half white and half whole wheat flour) and a half teaspoon of salt.  I do not generally use only whole-wheat flour, because the bread will be too dense.

 Mix this well, and start the process of adding a scant 1/3 cup of flour, at a time, kneading it in with your hands.  

I knead my dough in the bowl so it’s not a mess everywhere.  But, you can turn onto a board or table and keep kneading, and adding flour, until you have a round of dough that’s no longer sticky (by the way, take off your rings, because they hold bacteria and, just;  eeww. who wants that?).  Use enough olive oil to coat the bowl (which should have cleaned itself when you kneaded the dough), place the dough back into the bowl, and turn so it’s well coated.

Cover with a light (LIGHT) dish-towel.  The flour-sack towels are best.

Let rise until tripled in bulk.  The books say, doubled, but I like my bread light and airy.   

Divide your bread into two small loaves, or if you’re looking to make sandwiches later, make it into one loaf.  Place on baking sheet (or, if you’e lucky enough to have a pizza stone, like me, use that!) which you’ve covered with corn-meal.  Cover the loaves and allow them to now double in size.

Preheat the oven, now;  375 degrees.

When the oven is hot, the bread should be risen enough to go in.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes.

If you do this on a pizza-stone, you do not have to add a pie-tin of water to ensure a crispy crust.  But, if you do use a metal baking sheet, place a dish (oven proof dish, like a pie pan) filled with water, onto the bottom of the oven, to create a steam-bath.

When the crust is a perfect golden-brown, remove and set to cool.  If you’re like me, you usually skip the cooling step and go right to the butter!  

Now, once you have this recipe down, you can enhance it or use it for different things.  

If you want a homemade pizza, use this dough and shape into a thin pizza crust.  Do not use a rolling pin, though;  just pull the dough, from center of the round, to the edges-  and it gets easier each time you do it,. You can add things, like garlic and butter, before baking, for a delicious bread.  Or, make thin bread-sticks.  

Or, as my mom used to do, melt some fat (Mom used to save cooking-grease- -and keep your left-over grease in the fridge!) heat it, and strain through cheesecloth, for dough-boys..  When Mom was done using this grease, more than once, she would then break out the lye and make soap.  We kids were not allowed in the house when soap was made, because it’s s dangerous thing!  So always bear that in mind.

If i can get my mom’s recipe for lye-soap, again, I will post it.  I do remember giving it to my high-school chemistry teacher and he thought it was great!  I believe I got extra-credit for that one. too.

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