Thursday, March 8, 2012

High-Altitude French Bread Recipe

My previous post talked about FINALLY having success getting bread to rise. Here's the recipe that I use (at 7,200 ft):

High-Altitude French Bread
(makes 1 small loaf; double for store-sized French bread loaf)

  • Pour 1 Cup WARM Water (NOT hot - hot will kill the yeast; think baby bottle temperature or just a tad warmer - about 92°-95°F) into a LARGE non-metallic mixing bowl
  • Sprinkle 1/2 Tbl. (rounded) Instant Dry Yeast over the water and
  • Add 1/2 Tbl. (level) Granulated Sugar

Using a wooden or silicone spoon, stir to dissolve the sugar and "wake up" the yeast. Let sit about 3 minutes to give the yeast time to get active.

When the bowl is "frothy,"

  • Add 1 Cup Flour (whatever you have is fine; I used all-purpose white). Don't waste time sifting it, just dump it in.

Stir well, until the flour is absorbed and there are few lumps left. It will be runny.

  • Dump another 1/2 Cup Flour right in the center,
  • Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt over the Flour 
  • Plus 1/2 Tbl. (melted) Butter-flavored Crisco (or whatever shortening you have on hand)
  • Then 1/2 Cup Flour more and

Stir until all Flour is mixed in; be sure to scrape down the sides too.

Allow to rise until about double in size (approx. 1 hour). If your kitchen is chilly like mine, stick it in the oven with the light on, right under the bulb. Oh, and you don't have to cover it. First, it's not necessary, and second, you might forget when you go to turn the oven on later.

When it's risen sufficiently, stir the dough down (I know, it's depressing - but have faith, it will rise again!), and prepare to transfer to your desired baking vessel. Either butter the pan or line it with parchment paper (the best stuff in the world!) or non-stick foil. If you want, sprinkle some Yellow Cornmeal on the bottom of the pan; it will help keep the bottom from getting too brown, but it's totally optional. Shape to the pan as best you can (either use a silicone utensil or floured hands; this dough is sticky!).

Stick it back in the oven and allow to rise, about 1 more hour.

Without removing the pan - just situate it in the center of the top rack - turn on the oven to 400°F (375°F if your oven is propane like mine), and bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack - if you can wait that long - slice & enjoy!

*For a crispier, more golden crust, bush with an egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 tsp water) about halfway through the second rising period. Don't wait until the end because brushing it on tends to deflate the dough somewhat.

1 comment:

  1. Very tasty ... but it fell! I will try this again at an earlier hour, before the daily deluge!