Friday, March 25, 2011 there anything better than hot French bread?

I LOVE French Bread. I love it so much that I used to eat it slice by slice with no butter, honey or garlic. I love whole wheat. I love it so much that I try to make everything I can from it. I've never found a way to combine my love of whole wheat with my love of French bread...until now. I have to admit to my "insiders" the recipe in my book isn't even close to as good as this one. Sorry about that, but I hadn't found the magic combination until just the other day. This one will be in my next cookbook, so don't worry. For now, just scribble this in next to your other French bread recipe in your cookbook and use this one instead. It is wonderful and only 106 calories per slice if you cut it into 16 pieces...not too bad for a delicious slice of French bread. Here is the recipe...

Deliciously Light and Crispy French Bread

1 1/4 C lukewarm water

1 T sugar

1 tsp honey

1 1/2 tsp yeast

Mix above ingredients lightly until yeast is dissolved and let sit for about 5-8 minutes.

1 tsp. salt

1 T oil

1/2 tsp gluten

1/2 tsp dough enhancer

3-3 1/2 C freshly and finely ground whole wheat flour

2 T cornmeal

1 egg white mixed with 1 T water

Add salt, oil, gluten, dough enhancer and 2 C of the flour to the yeast mixture. Add flour 1/4 C at a time until dough is just barely not sticky (don't ever over-add flour!!!) Knead for 5-8 minutes. Let rise for 10 minutes and stir down. Repeat this process 5 times. Grease a cookie sheet and use 2 T cornmeal to dust the entire cookie sheet. Roll dough into large rectangle. Roll from the long-side. When finished pinch edges together and lightly moisten fingers with water and pinch again along the seam to seal it. Place seam-side down on cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Slice with sharp knife 4-5 "1/4 in." deep slashes diagonally across the bread. Lightly brush on egg white/water mixture. Let rise about 30-40 minutes. Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Brush on more egg white and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. You can even brush on more egg white after five minutes of baking and then put it in for another five to get it extra crispy!!!

Insiders Note: I just made the bran muffins (raisin-bran muffins) today and realized they need a little more flour than the recipe called for. This may have to do with the time of year and the damp weather vs. desert heat of the summer. Anyway, you may need to add up to 1/2 - 3/4 C more whole wheat flour. When the muffins spring back and are rounded on top...they are finished and you have added enough flour.

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