I've made french bread several times using my trusty old Kitchen Aid, but had never tried it in the food processor before. I mean who'da thunk that you could fit that much flour into the darn thing to begin with but I figured I'd give it a go anyway. You see we were having more of that fabulous French Meat Loaf for dinner last night, this time cold and it's so much like a pate' I imagined some crusty french bread would be a lovely "with". Gosh darn I'm on a roll. I was right again!
There's not much to making french bread - I mean it's just flour, water and yeast basically so in mere minutes from prep start to finish I had the dough rising in my favorite out of the way warm place - the microwave. Yes people, I have one of those over the stove microwaves and find that if I boil a cup of water in it then keep the boiled water inside, place the dough beside it to rise and leave the light on, it's a perfect draft free place to proof. Rises faster'n you can say peanut butter and jelly, honest. By the way, be careful when you boil water in the microwave because it can explode on you and there'll be boiling hot water all over the place. It's best to put a wooden spoon or chopstick in the cup along with the water to help keep it from blowing up.
So how was the bread? I've absolutely no excuse not to make it more often because not only was it darned easy, it turned out perfectly other than the fact that the shape was little flat because I don't own a french bread pan. Who really cares though - that's just aesthetics. It was perfectly crispy on the outside and incredibly soft inside, like it's supposed to be and absolutely perfect with a hunk a cold meatloaf.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour *
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1-1/3 cups warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Stir yeast into water and let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile combine flour, salt, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor (using dough blade) and pulse to combine. When yeast is ready, with the motor running add yeast, water and olive oil. Blend for 1 minute.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray and transfer dough from food processor to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft free place to rise until doubled in size – approximately 1 hour. Half way through, deflate dough and allow to rise again.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Cut in half and form each piece into a 15 inch log. Spray French bread pans or a sheet pan well with cooking spray. Place dough on pan and coat with olive oil. Let loaves rise, uncovered in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Fill a large roasting pan with about an inch of water and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 400. With a very sharp knife, cut 3 slits into each loaf. Bake loaves for 20 minutes, and then carefully remove water from oven. Flip bread directly onto oven rack and bake for another 5 minutes, until loaves are golden brown and crusty all over. Cool loaves on a rack. Download Food Processor French Bread (*Note - I actually used 1 cup of bread flour because it was all I had, and the rest was regular all purpose)