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30 Days of Dough – Day 4 – One Hour French Bread

In doing 30 Days of Dough, I have come to realize 2 things.  1.  As much as I think I am a planner, sometimes I just don’t think about making bread ahead of time and a lot of recipes take hours if not days.  And 2. I can’t just stick to a recipe… I have made this recipe twice and have already made adjustments.  For a loaf that can be done start to out of the oven in 1 hour flat that doesn’t require much pre-planning, this is a keeper  This recipe was based off of My Mundane and Miraculous Life.  It is definitely more doughy than fluffy but I like it.

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, honey, salt and yeast.  Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes and it will get a little foamy.

Add 3 1/2 cups of flour, one cup at a time until it comes together as a shaggy dough.  With floured hands, dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, continuing to add flour as the dough get sticky.  The original recipe doesn’t call for kneading but I like to because it keeps it tight and consistent.  With a french bread, you can skip this step if you want. If you do skip the kneading, you can shape it into a loaf and place it onto a pan with a towel laid over it and let it sit for 20 minutes before baking.   Place into a greased bowl (I used non stick spray) and cover with plastic wrap and lay a towel over it.  Your bread will rise more if you let it rest in a warm spot, I keep it on top of the stove while I have dinner in the oven.  Let it sit for about 20-25 minutes and it should double in size.

Once it has rested, with floured hands punch the dough down, knead it a few more times and shape it into a loaf.  Cut 3 slits in the top and let it rest while you heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for about 20 minutes until the top is a little beige, it really doesn’t get golden brown.  As hard as it is, try to wait at least 30 minutes before slicing into the loaf and enjoy!

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