French Bread in the Cast Iron Skillet
Bread, we love it! Right? But it seems everyone is saying don't eat it, it's fattening, it's to much gluten, it's white bread not wheat. I gave up and dug in to this french bread slathered in butter just out of the oven and so hot. Not supposed to do that either. I am into breaking all the rules these days. As I age I have so few rules in my life. This bread toasted is so good. I live to eat, not eat to live. I guess that's a rule.
This french bread is simple in it's simplicity. It does have more flavor the next day. But who can wait? Amazing how yeast, water, flour, and salt and are so perfect together. Live it up eat bread with lots of butter. How do you, feel about bread?
This one I made into a long loaf. Just as good.
1 pkg. active dry yeast or 2 and 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 cups water, if you take the temp. it should be about 110-115 degrees.
1 Tablespoon salt
6-8 cups flour
Cornmeal. I use it under the bread before baking and sprinkle a little on top.
1 egg yoke mixed with 1 Tablespoon water. Brush on top of bread before baking.
Mix the yeast and water together and let set for 10 min.
Add the salt, mix
Add the flour a little at a time. Mix with a spoon and keep adding flour until it's not to sticky. I used about 6 of the cups. Kneed for about 10 min.
Adding flour as needed until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and put in a large bowl that you coated lightly with oil. I used olive oil, cover with a cloth. Let rise in warm place until double in size, my dough took about 2 1/2 hr. It's hot here in the jungle. Yours might take longer.
When your dough has doubled in size put on a lightly floured surface and cut in half. I put one half in my Cast Iron pan that I sprinkled with cornmeal and the other I shaped into a baguette. I pressed it lightly into a rectangle and rolled it up. Starting at the long ends and pinched the seam together and tucked the short end under. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal. At this time I used a razor blade and made three slashes on top of each loaf. You can see I got a little fancy with rosemary and chives .Let rise again for 1/2 hr. to 45 min. Brush the bread with the egg mixture and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 40 min. or until the temp in side the bread is 190-200. I put a pan on the bottom rack and poured hot water into it when I put the bread in the oven. Close door fast so your water makes steam. You have now made a beautiful loaf of bread at home. Enjoy.