I would love to just hop on over right now, but I'm thinking this is an adventure I will save for a few years from now, maybe after I graduate and actually have some money...
In the meantime I spend my time learning French via audio cd and baking baguettes in my kitchen while imagining there is art nouveau architecture along cobblestone streets just outside my window. Am I romanticizing too much?
This was my first shot at baking French bread. It wasn't as smooth and perfect looking as I had hoped, but it made up for it's appearance in taste. It was about 11:30 p.m. when I decided it was time to make bread, so I didn't finish until about 2:30 a.m. My timing wasn't great, but my bread was - so good that I ate almost an entire loaf just after it cooled... whoops.
Traditional French Bread (adapted from Gourmet)
4 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 tsp dry yeast
1 2/3 c warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
-Combine the flour, salt, and vinegar
-In a separate bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/3 c of the warm water and let it foam
-Add the yeast mixture and the remaining water to the flour mixture until a dough forms, then let rise for for about 1 hour
-Bring the dough to a clean surface and divide it in half
-With each ball of dough, stretch the dough to make a large rectangle, then take the short sides of the rectangle, fold them to the center to meet, then flip the dough so the seam is down and roll it out to make a 15 inch long loaf
-Let the loaves rest for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 450º F with a pan filled with 1-inch water on the bottom rack
-Grease your bread pan with the oil
-Make a few diagonal slashes in the dough to allow inner moisture to evaporate while baking and let bake for about 30 minutes until golden and crusty
-Let cool and enjoy!