Homemade Soft French Bread
by Tarla Dalal
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Bread making is no rocket science! It just needs a bit of practice, in handling the yeast and the dough. The temperature of water is the most important factor for activating the yeast properly. If it is too cold, the yeast will not start working, and if it is too hot, the yeast cells will die down and not become active at all. So, use lukewarm water, testing it on the inner side of your wrist.
Once you have rested this mixture for 10 minutes, you will see that it gets frothy. This means it is ready for use, to make the dough. Handling the dough is also not too difficult if you dust it properly so that it does not stick to your fingers. Just follow the instructions in this recipe and you will have fantastic Homemade Soft French Bread on your hands.
Enjoy the warm and aromatic bread with butter and your favourite jam , fruit sauce or honey. Or, use it to prepare other delicacies like Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart French Bread , Tomato Cheese Roll and Zucchini Toast .
- Combine the yeast and 2 tbsp of warm water in a small bowl, cover it with a lid and keep aside for 10 minutes.
- Combine the plain flour, butter, salt and yeast mixture in a deep bowl, mix well and knead into a soft dough using enough warm water.
- Cover the dough with a damp muslin cloth and keep aside in a warm place for 40 minutes.
- Dust the plain flour on a flat, dry surface and knead the dough very well for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Again cover the dough with a damp muslin cloth and keep aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Once again dust some plain flour on a flat, dry surface and knead the dough very well for 2 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
- Roll each portion of the dough into a 200 mm. (8”) long cylindrical roll and place them on a greased baking tray.
- Cover it with a damp muslin cloth and keep aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Make 3 slits at regular interval on each bread using a knife.
- Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 200°c (400°f) for 25 minutes.
- Brush the breads with little melted butter.
- Cool slightly and serve.
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