Saturday, March 14, 2015

Homemade French Bread and Garlic Butter Spread

It's hard to beat a fresh loaf of crusty, chewy french bread.  It perfectly compliments almost any meal.  But here's my french bread problem.  I do my grocery shopping once a week.  When I buy french bread, it has to be eaten that night or the next or it starts to get stale.  And the rest of the week we are french breadless.  What a dilemma!  And then one day I was like, "Why not make some?!"  The search was on.  When I found this recipe for homemade french bread, I had high hopes that my french bread troubles were about to come to an end.  I wasn't sure if it would really be french bread or just a loaf of homemade bread shaped like french bread.  Since this recipe is making the blog, you can guess how it turned out.  Fabulous!  The crust is crusty but not too thick and the inside is nice and chewy.  This recipe makes a lot.  You can make four medium sized loaves that are as long as the width of a large cookie sheet or two loaves that are the length of the cookie sheet.  Does that make sense?  I like having extras to run over to a neighbor or drop off for a friend.  And it's usually not long before I get a phone call asking for the recipe.  And as a bonus, there's this incredible Garlic Butter Spread to boot.  It's so buttery and creamy and seasoned perfectly.  I like to keep a container of it in the fridge because it's perfect for bagels too,  Now we can enjoy french bread and this amazing Garlic Spread any day of the week!

French Bread

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 TBS instant yeast
1 1/2 TBS sugar
1 1/2 TBS oil
2 1/4 tsp salt
6 cups flour
1 egg white, beaten (to brush on dough before baking)

I like to use my bread maker for the initial mixing, though you can do it by hand, of course.  Pour warm water, instant yeast, sugar, oil, salt, and 3 C of flour into bread mixer. Mix until flour is incorporated, then add remaining 3 C flour gradually.  I let the dough mix for about half an hour on the dough setting.  This next step is very important in achieving the right texture for your finished loaf, so don't skip it.  Remove dough from bread mixer and place on flat, floured surface, like a countertop.  Every ten minutes for the next hour knead two or three times. Cover with a dishtowel in between kneadings.  Form into 4 loaves. Brush with beaten egg white. Slash 3 diagonal lines into tops. Raise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Garlic Butter Spread

1/2 C butter
8 oz package cream cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t basil
1/8 t each dill, marjoram, thyme, and pepper

Set out butter and cream cheese until room temperature.  Mix together making it smooth and creamy.  Add in seasonings, mix until well combined.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Source:  It's Always Autumn


Jamie Young said...

I've never had homemade bread that turned out so perfect, that looks amazing! And that homemade garlic butter is the perfect combination.

Janessa said...

Killer combination, I tell ya. I want to eat the whole thing myself! And as far as the looks go, I just followed the directions and, voila, that's what I got. Pretty easy!

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