French Bread

not-so-French French bread


So here in South Africa, you can definitely buy traditional baguettes, but most of us go to the bakery and buy what we call French Loaves. It´s a long loaf of bread, usually 30cm or 50cm long and it is very cheap, about R16( $1) a loaf. During hard lockdown, I got a little stir crazy and tried my hand at baking, this recipe is very similar to a baguette and just as tasty. Please just don´t do what I did, use the pre-lockdown old, disgusting stale flour, and then wonder why the bread comes out rock hard. Note to self, use new flour.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Ingredients:

400g strong white flour

10g instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon margarine

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour. Add in the yeast. Add in the salt, make sure not to pour the salt on top of the yeast

Add the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon

Add in the margarine and mix into the flour with your fingertips. The flour should feel like fine crumbs

Add in 200ml of cool water and mix until the ingredients form a shaggy dough

Shape into a ball and cover with a dish towel

Let the dough rest for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size

Lightly knock the air back into the dough.

Flour your work surface and tip the dough out

Divide the dough into two equal sized balls

Roll each ball of dough into a long sausage shape

Cover the dough again and let it rise for another hour

After one hour, take a very sharp knife and cut four diagonal slashes into each loaf

Bake in the over for 45 minutes

Let them cool on a wire rack

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