Whole-wheat french bread! YUM! Here's what I've learned:
- You have to use more flour for a free-standing loaf of bread than you do with bread that you put into bread pans. The dough needs to be a little stiffer otherwise when it rises it kind of just flops on the pan instead of making a nice formed loaf.
- To get a crunchy outer crust, spray or brush water on the bread dough after it has risen (a lot of water). This makes the oven humid, which gives a nice crunch to the outer crust when it is fresh.
Whole-Wheat French Bread
1-1/2 C. water, microwaved until very warm (I do about 1 1/2 mins.)
smash 1 Vitamin C tablet in the water (don't ask why cause I don't know - does anyone? It was just part of my recipe and I haven't experimented with why you do this)
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
3 C. freshly ground white wheat flour
1/2-1 C. Gluten flour
1 Tbsp. quick acting yeast
In a bosh mixer, add water, sugar, vegetable oil, salt, gluten flour, half of the wheat flour and yeast on top. Mix adding the rest of the wheat flour as it mixes. Then let bosch mix for 6 minutes. Leave bread dough in bosch and mix every ten minutes for 5 times (50 minutes total). This adds air into the bread, giving it the french bread texture inside.
Roll dough into a rectangle (about 8 to 14 inches) then roll it up like a jelly roll and seal the edges with a few drops of water. Score top. Brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 Tbsp. water). Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise until doubled in size (not just up but all around).
Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes (I'm not sure on the exact time yet). Tap to see if it sounds hollow.