I was told this story second-hand, but this small, shared epiphany, made me think about how much I buy already made and how easy it would be to keep 'the basics' on-hand to make homemade. And I know what you're thinking: "Who has the time?" Well, honestly it doesn't take anymore time then mixing Bisquick, for things like biscuits, and pancakes...no really!...I've done pancakes enough now that I have the recipe committed to memory. When this happens, you get a bit more brazen, and are able to adapt the recipe, adding in things like fresh herbs, raisins and cinnamon. In the last month, I've tried to tackle yeasty breads (something I haven't really had the opportunity to tackle before).
What I've learned is that bread can take a couple of agonizing hours and many, many steps (and sometimes who does have the time?), but in this case the yeast is "rapid rise" making it the perfect make-ahead recipe for a quiet night in with friends, or a easy Sunday afternoon project. Try making this recipe with children, and letting them try kneading the dough!
I adapted this recipe from one I found and adjusted it to suit my tastes (and to utilize some fresh rosemary from my garden). If you feel so inclined, you could leave out the rosemary, making perfect bread for sweet and hearty french toast or a crispy base for a crostini appetizer! Yum!
The texture is classic french bread, with a chewy crust and smooshy inside. The lovely aroma of rosemary fills your house...and family members may suddenly appear! ;)
Recipe Makes 1 Loaf
- (A) 1 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- (B) 1/2 Cup Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, Chopped Finely
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Package Fast Rising Yeast
- 1 Cup Hot Water (Approx. 125° F.)
- 1 Tbsp. Egg White + 1 Tbsp. Tap Water (Blended for Brushing)
- 1 Tbsp. Yellow Corn Meal
- In a large mixing bowl, combine: Flour (A), Sugar, Salt, Rosemary & Yeast.
- Pour in hot water, and stir with wooden spoon, a little at a time until all is incorporated.
- Then, mix in sprinkles of Flour (B) until the dough is combined and soft.
- Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead dough for 7 minutes. (Sprinkle with flour along the way, when dough is too sticky to handle).
- On your kneading board, shape the dough into a long, baguette shape--tapering the ends. Seal the ends with your fingers.
- Next, pour the Tbsp. of Yellow Cornmeal into a dry, clean baking sheet, and shimmy to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer your dough to the baking sheet.
- Lightly cover the dough with a moist paper towel (light cotton will do as well).
- Put the dough in a warm place, such as an off oven, and let the dough rise, untouched, for 40 minutes. The dough should double in size.
40 Minutes Later:
- Remove paper towel slowly.
- Cut the bread 4 times diagonally across the top with a sharp knife. (Cut approx 1/4" down).
- Lightly brush the top of the bread with water+egg white mixture. Don't let mixture pool, coat should be light.
- (Optional: Sprinkle a little kosher salt on the top of the egg mixture and/or additional fresh chopped rosemary for added taste and presentation points.)
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 425° F. for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Let bread cool on a wire rack.
- Slice with a serrated blade.
ENJOY! - Alicia