Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bread: French and Spelt

A week or so ago, I came upon a recipe for "Easy French Bread" in my More-with-Less Cookbook.

I can't give the Mennonite folks who put this cook book together enough praise for their concern for our health, environment and world food needs.  All of their recipes are simple, presented with nutrition in mind, and darn good tasting.

Back to the French bread recipe, it did indeed look easy and since it was well into the afternoon before I got around to starting some bread, I decided to give it a try.

EASY FRENCH BREAD

Dissolve:
    2 pkgs. (2 tablespoons) dry yeast in
    1/2 cup warm (approx. 120 degrees) water with
    1/2 teaspoon sugar

Combine:
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 cups boiling water

Cool to lukewarm and then add yeast mixture.  

Stir in:
    7-1/2 to 8 cups unbleached white flour
    (7 cups was all I could get mixed in.)

Knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Let rise until doubled  (I let it rise for one hour.)  Punch down and let rest on counter (I covered with a cloth) for 15 minutes.

Divide dough in half.  On floured surface, roll each half to a 12" x 15" rectangle.  Roll up tightly, starting at the 15" edge.

Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet and make 4 or 5 slashes diagonally across the tops.  Let rise until doubled in size.  (Again, I let the loaves rise for one hour.)

Mix and brush over loaves:
    1 whole egg, beaten with
    2 tablespoons milk

Sprinkle over top:
    Poppy or sesame seeds

Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes.


The two loaves were the biggest and nicest looking loaves of French bread I've ever made.  (The knife shown in the picture is a full 12" long for comparison.)


Was the bread tasty?  It sure was!  Although, I have to honestly admit that this was the end of only half of one of those giant loaves, and Chicken Mama stopped in just in time to help us with the sampling.

I was so enthused about this recipe that the next day I made it again, but used a combination of 4 cups of spelt flour and 3 cups of white.


This time I divided the dough into three portions and made one round loaf, one long loaf and spread the rolled out rectangle of the third portion of dough with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and pecans.


The cinnamon bread was heavier than a regular cinnamon bread made with all white flour would be but still made a very tasty sweet bread that we enjoyed toasted with several breakfasts.

Papa Pea, who isn't fond of "white" bread, commented that if he was limited to only one kind of bread (which he's not, lucky-ducky that he is), the recipe made with the spelt flour would satisfy him.

All in all, this turned out to be a really good bread and I'm looking forward to playing with some other variations to the basic recipe.      
     

34 comments:

Carolyn said...

That french bread looks DEEE-licious!
Got to get me one of those cookbooks them Mennonite people put out, they sure have some darn good look'n recipes!!

Tombstone Livestock said...

That's some good looking bread, and I can tell by the leftover piece there is must have tasted as good as it looks. Still looking for my homemade cookbook ... good bread recipe in there too.

Karen L. said...

These photos just make my mouth water!!! I need to get my rear end in gear and start making bread in the "new" house .... although the oven here is junk but I will be buying a new one in the near future. You can bet I am saving this recipe. We eat a fair amount of raisin cinnamon bread so I really need to try that version. Oh and I actually have some spelt flour ...... somewhere here in the house!!!!

Jennifer Jo said...

The author of the cookbook died a good while back and her husband goes to our church. More-With-Less has been a integral part of my growing up. In fact, I just emailed home to my mom for that very recipe!

I wrote about the cookbook here: http://mamasminutia.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-it-came-to-be.html

Susan said...

That is one of my favorite cookbooks. Nutrition with a social conscious - how much better can it get? Well, when you get your hands on a recipe it gets AMAZING! I am keeping a stiff upper lip (that helps with the tear run-off) and not getting down because I can't partake in that wonderful bread....

Michelle said...

I haven't made french bread in a long time. Will have to give this one a try. I love finding new and good recipes. This one looks like a winner.

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - They know how to cook, no doubt about that!

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - Are you sure you didn't loan that elusive cook book out to someone? That would be . . . awful!

Mama Pea said...

Karen L. - I think if I had moved as recently as you have, I wouldn't be doing much baking yet!

Mama Pea said...

JJ - I can't even remember where or when (in the 80s, I'm pretty sure) I got my copy but I wouldn't give it up for anything. Thanks for the link. I shall go read that post.

Mama Pea said...

Oh, Susan dear, I can't help but think of you and your GF diet whenever I post a recipe I know you'll not be trying. Bread has got to be one of the hardest things to do without. Sob! (But just remember how much better you feel staying away from that yucky gluten!)

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I haven't tried making it into garlic cheese bread (a favorite thing to do with French bread in this house) but I do think you'll like it if you try it. The loaves LOOK so good I can almost be satisfied just looking at them, let alone eating them! Well, almost. :o}

You Can Call Me Jane said...

When I make French bread, this is the recipe I use (from MWL). I love your twists and additions- your loaves look delicious!

Nancy po said...

Looks good! I LOVE spelt, have made pizza dough with it, nice nutty flavor!

judy said...

Oh boy ,I have to make this,I will however have to Google a couple of words you used like spelt and no I didn't spell it wrong,Jerry is doing better thanks for inquiring ,He had a high creatine level today but are letting him come home tomorrow ,he has been there to long now.Can anyone tell me why they don't make hospital beds anymore that elevate the feet for people with hear problem.Al of his currents things ,they say might have been caused from his code blue episode that happened at Christmas .It left him with a collapsed lung and some kedney damage.Did everyone hear the grey news about breast cancer at out own U of M ?I HOPE SO

judy said...

I did spell great and heart wrong tho,see if you can find them? lol good night ,don't care its only 7:30

Lisa said...

Can I come live with ya'll?! Others may crave chocolates and cakes, but bread is my weakness.... homemade, fresh-from-the-oven bread, like yours. Two days in a row of fresh bread? I can't stand it.... :)

I don't have the More-with-Less Cookbook, but I do have Living More-with-Less by the same author. Had this book for years and I still enjoy re-reading it to this day. PS I think tomorrow shall be a breadmaking day... yours are making me drool over my computer keyboard. I like how you made the loaves into different 'breads'. Thanks Mama Pea!

Freedom Acres Farm said...

I LOVE that book! But I gotta tell ya that the easiest and yummy french bread that I've ever found (its become my go-to for French bread which I make about once a week) is the one in the Kitchen Aid spiral book that comes with the machine. Super easy and the crust turns out just like a baguette at Panera!!!

Sparkless said...

Oh yum! We make bread in our bread machine and then shape it into buns or loaves to cook. The husband thinks his french bread is good but it tastes just like white bread to me. I'll have to try your recipe and see if it works.
Do you put a pan of water in the oven to help with the crust?

Stephanie said...

Thank you! I think you might have esp or something...I was going hunting online today for a recipe for french bread today to go with our spaghetti we are having for dinner. Can't wait to try it :)

Kristina said...

Those look delicious. I can't wait until I feel better. I miss baking and cooking.

Mama Pea said...

I'll Call You Jane - I know you have and use this book so am not at all surprised you, too, have found this recipe to be a winner!

Mama Pea said...

Nancy po - The only problem I have with spelt is that, for some reason, it doesn't seem to absorb liquid as well as other flours so I end up having to put a lot more of it in than a recipe calls for to get the correct consistency. But I'll gladly deal with that since spelt is a type of wheat that has not (yet anyway!) been tampered with (think GMO and hybridized) as a lot of other wheat has.

Mama Pea said...

Hoping your Jerry is home and feeling good now.

No, I haven't heard the breast cancer news from U of M. What's going on?

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - I know what you mean . . . if I had a choice between a dessert or a really good sandwich on homemade bread, I'd take the sandwich every time!

So what kind of bread did you bake today, m'dear??

Mama Pea said...

Freedom Acres Farm - Darn, did I get a book like that with my Kitchen Aid? I've had mine for many years but don't recall the spiral bound book at all. Darn.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - No, I didn't put a pan of water in the oven, but that's a good idea and I think I'll do it next time. Thanks!

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Mmmmm, spaghetti with good French bread! Did you try the recipe? With good results, I hope?

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Take care of yourself and get better soon.

There's no doubt about it. Good cookin' (and baking) falls by the wayside when the mama is under the weather!

Lisa said...

Welllllll..... my breadmaking day changed to more of a sewing day..... does cornbread count?!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - You bet! The best days are ones when we allow ourselves to go with the flow and do what feels best. Glad you did!

Lisa said...

Those are the best kind of days, aren't they. And why is it, sometimes, that's when the most seems to be accomplished?! I like the way you think Mama Pea.

Erin said...

I will be trying both!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Good bread baker that you are you should have no trouble with this easy recipe!