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French Bread

Add ice and water to hot baking pan beneath bread dough just before baking

In a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a dough hook combine:

  • 4 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ Tbsp yeast (1 Tbsp if you are in a hurry)
  • 15 oz. cold water

Combine at medium speed until it forms a ball.
Let rest 5 minutes

Resume medium speed for 2 minutes
Scrape into a bowl three times the size of the dough
Cover with a plate or plastic and let rise overnight or till double. If you use 1 tablespoon of yeast, it will take only 2-3 hours to double in size.  Do not allow to rise more than double.

Sprinkle about ½ cup flour onto a smooth counter.
Scrape dough onto flour and sprinkle more flour to cover entire surface of dough
With a bread knife divide into 3 pieces.
Shape into 3  baguettes using hands and the side of bread knife.
Gently place into perforated Teflon coated bread forms.
Let rise 1 hour or more until doubled in size.

At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 F
Place a shallow old baking pan in the bottom rack.

When ready to bake, place bread in top third or center of the oven.  Take 1 cup of ice & ½ cup water and right away throw into baking pan. Close the door immediately to keep the steam in the oven & bake 20 minutes. The steam is what makes the crust crisp.

Add more ice and water and bake another 10 minutes.

You can experiment with the amount of cold water in the recipe. I use 15 oz for a wetter dough with more holes and 14 oz for a denser bread interior. After 1 day, store bread in plastic bag. To crisp up the crust, place bread in a very hot oven for a few minutes with the same ice and water technique.

Bon Apetit! Merci Margee!

NSF 1/09

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