Michelle Palmer: Bread Flavor (recipe)

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Michelle Palmer’s American Style 90 Minute Loaf Bread

Now that the season has passed into the fall and the weather changes to cooler nights, more and more home cooks are cooking. There is a warm fuzzy feeling most get when they walk into a bakery, store, or home, and the whiff of fresh bread hits their noses.
When I was a baker for Safeway 40 years ago (all back then) we would start the breads early in the shift, so when the doors opened the smell permeated the air in the nose of the first buyers in the morning.
The shape of the bread has a lot to say about the type of bread the eyes see after the smell. Most when you say “French Bread” know what it looks like in American grocery stores.
However, this is a long, thin crusty bread which is commonly referred to as a “baguette” which translates directly to “a stick”. The baguette is perhaps the most popular type of bread in France – it’s eaten in almost every province across the country – but it’s certainly not the only type made. Consumers can also speak a generic language, looking for “French bread” when they mean “baguette” or “Italian bread” when they mean Sicilian bread. French bread is typically made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. In accordance with the law in France, long breads and boules (round breads) cannot be added with oil or fat.
90-minute American-style bread
2 cups liquid water measured at 110 degrees (warm to the touch on your wrist if you don’t have a thermometer
2 ½ teaspoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
5-6 cups of all-purpose flour (720 grams)
2 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
In a mixing bowl, combine the lukewarm water and sugar, and sprinkle yeast over the sugar water service. Let stand until foam forms about 5 minutes.
Whisk 2 cups of all-purpose flour mixed with salt.
Add the flour and salt mixture to the yeast and sugar water foam and stir with a dough hook or wooden spoon.
Now add ½ cup at a time (60 grams) of the remaining all-purpose flour, until the dough is smooth and not sticky; forming a ball. (or Knead by hand)
Rub olive oil on the dough ball formed in a bowl
Cover with a tea towel and let stand for 15 minutes
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide in half.
Roll each half into a rectangle one at a time. Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder. (Long loaf)
Place each loaf on a lightly floured baking sheet 4 inches apart with the seam side down and the ends facing down and pinched.
Let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Using a very sharp razor blade knife, make three diagonal cuts on top of each loaf.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 17 to 20 minutes until golden inside temperature is 190 degrees.
Brush top with melted butter or olive oil. Enjoy!
Michelle Palmer is the owner of Absolutely Michelle’s Chef-for-Hire who will come to your home to give a personal or group cooking class of up to 6 cooking classes or dinners of up to 8.


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