Bread. It’s a cuisine staple for many people all over the world. I for one love bread. I’m not talking about that squishy white bread you get at the grocery store. (Although, the bread in the fresh bakery area will sometimes make do when there is a lack of time.) I’m talking about homemade French bread that has substance to it. After all, there are very few things better than cutting into a loaf of French bread that has just come out of the oven.
I learned to make French bread a few years ago from my mom. She has been baking bread for years. French bread, Focaccia bread, wheat bread, Parmesan bread, you name it. Although some of my siblings would say her wheat bread takes center stage, I think her French bread is the star. It’s light, airy and not too dense. With all of that being said, I was never brave enough to try her recipe until my freshman year of college. Turns out, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.
She actually created the recipe a long time ago and has written it down for friends and family. I’ve learned that as long as the recipe is followed exactly as written there aren’t any problems. But you need to really pay attention to the timing of everything — how long you bake, mix and how long it rises is critical. My skills at shaping the loaves are sadly lacking. So it may not look the same, but the taste and flavors are all there.
One note of caution, when proofing your yeast, don’t be afraid to throw it out and start again if it doesn’t look right. It would be a shame to mess up your bread over something that can easily be fixed. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake and have ended up with very flat bread.