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julia child's french bread - simplified



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Prep Time: 270 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total: 300 minutes

Servings: 8

Cost: $1.86 /serving


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Step 1

Preheat stand mixer bowl with warm water. Dry bowl and add 3 1/2 cups AP flour and 2 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well.

Step 2

Combine 1 1/2 cup 105° water with yeast and mix well. Wait for the yeast to "proof." Those bubbles prove your yeast is good.

Step 3

Add yeast mixture to the mixer and uses one additional tablespoon of water to rinse the measuring cup and add that water to the mixer. With the dough hook, mix on "2". Continue to mix until a ball forms. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom. The dough should pull away from the sides and have about 2 inches sticking in the bottom. Add flour 1 tablespoons at a time if needed, Time: about 2 minutes.

Step 4

Stop the mixer and allow the dough to rest for 2 minutes, then restart kneading on At 5 minutes into kneading, stop the mixer and check for "spring" by pressing your finger on the dough. It is done when this springs back. Keep checking every 2 minutes of kneading. It will usually take 5-7 minutes total.

Step 5

While the dough is kneading, measure 10 1/2 cups very warm water into the large bowl with straight sides. Mark the top of the water for reference and pour out the water, dry bowl, and spray lightly with Pam or oil or butter.

Step 6

Place on a floured surface and hand knead for 2 minutes. Place dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic and towel. Place in a warm spot until raise to your mark. About 2-3 hours.

Step 7

With a rubber spatula sprayed with Pam, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. If the dough seems very wet, then sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour. Press to somewhat flatten and form an about 12-inch square. Fold lower-left corner to the upper right.

Step 8

Lower right to the upper left. Fold on itself several more folds. Then form into a rounded ball with the folds underneath and the top rounded like a cushion. Re-spray the large mixing bowl with Pam and place dough in and cover again with plastic wrap and towel. Place in a warm spot to rise to about triple in size. About 1 hour.

Step 9

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface again. Flatten slightly and gently into a round. Start turning edges underneath, forming a rounded ball stretching the "skin" to form a firmer ball of dough but not deflating the rise completely.

Step 10

Place a square of parchment paper on a large wooden peel or a cookie sheet with no edge. Place dough in center and cover (I used the bowl I used for raising after you spray it again with Pam to prevent any sticking if it happens to touch the dough). Allow to rise until approximately triple in size again.

Step 11

Preheat oven to 450° (not convection) with a baking stone on the middle rack and pan for water on the bottom rack for at least 30 minutes.

Step 12

Score top of dough about 1/4 inch deep with three cuts. Brush top liberally with water. Transfer on parchment paper to the baking stone.

Step 13

At 3, 6, and 9 minutes, brush dough liberally with water. Add 1 more cup of water to the pan at 6 minutes. Continue to bake until the top is browned and internal temp 200°-205°. About 25-30 minutes in total.

Step 14

Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 2 hours before cutting.

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