I love to make bread. I love the way it smells before, during and after it bakes. I love to get my hands in the dough. When I am sad, tired, overwhelmed, or harried, I make bread. There is something about the smell and the process that relaxes me. I have made bread since my kiddos were little. Now, wherever they are, when they smell bread (think cinabon, mall, bakery) they think of me and of home. It's a little psychological jab that I truly enjoy.
Tonight I am making French bread pizza for dinner. To make the pizza, just slice the bread in half horizontally, slather with your sauce of choice, sprinkle cheese, add whatever toppings you want, and bake until it is hot and bubbly. But first, it's all about the bread.
Don't be afraid.
it really is no-fail
recipe makes 2 loaves
2 1/2 cups warm water (I just use it from the tap)
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. dry yeast
2 Tbs. oil (I use canola or olive)
1 Tbs. salt
6-7 cups flour (I use white for this)
1 egg, beaten
In a large bowl, stir sugar, yeast and water. Let this stand until the yeast bubbles.
To this add 6 cups of flour (spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level. If you scoop the flour with the measuring cup, you pack the flour and your bread may be too dry or not rise properly), salt, and oil. Knead with your bread hook or stir and knead by hand. Add the rest of your flour if needed. (the stickier the dough, the lighter the bread) Let the dough stand 10 minutes. Stir down. Repeat this process 5 times, which will take 1 hour. (I have done this as few as 2 times and as many as 10 with good results.)
Divide in half. Roll or pat into two rectangles - roughly 9x12 inches.
Roll into a jellyroll, rolling from the long side.
Arrange both loaves, seam side down, on a large well-greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Let rise 10-20 minutes. Make slashes on top of loaves and gently brush on beaten egg.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool.