Hmm, where do I begin? Beautiful Breads & Fabulous Fillings (The Best Sandwiches in America) by Margaux Sky. I don’t quite remember when and where I found this book but I love it! An older recipe book written in 2006 and I purchased it about two years ago when we first began our cooking and baking frenzy at home. There are a couple of bread recipes in this book I really like and one in particular that my older son has made in the past.
I, on the other hand, have only tried ‘baking’ a few months ago, when we moved into our new home. Yesterday, I took out this cookbook that has remained untouched in the pantry for about the same duration as when we moved in! Upon the revisit, I immediately opened it to the same bread recipe I have been wanting to bake for myself…Sweet French Loaf. The bread itself is very soft, thinking at first that it is under baked. It has a slightly sweet flavor, perfect with a bit of jam and butter. The best part of this bread is baking it free form. Moreover, for those who are sensitive to dairy products or on a vegan diet, this is a vegan bread. Although, not a true ‘French’ bread, it will make for a very wonderful French toast…the best you will ever taste.
Yields 1 large loaf
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 cups warm vanilla soy milk (For those not sensitive to dairy, you can substitute soy milk with an organic, 1 or 2 percent fat milk and 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 8 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted 4 cups with an organic wheat flour for a half/half variation)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and soy milk (or substitute milk ingredient). Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
- Add the powdered sugar and brown sugar to the yeast mixture.
- In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and, using your hands, mix well.
- Place the dough on a well-floured counter-top or board and knead for 4 minutes. Keep the dough moist for soft, tender bread.
- Generously butter a baking sheet. (I like to substitute the butter with a flavored olive oil. For example, with this recipe I used Silver Medal Winning Shakespeare’s Acre Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil) Free form the dough onto the baking sheet. Slice a long, deep gash in the center of the dough. Let it rise for about 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake on the baking sheet for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 15 minutes. (Since we are at a higher elevation, I baked it for only 10 minutes more, not 15) Ovens may vary so test for doneness. Tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it is done. If not, continue to bake, checking every few minutes.
- When the loaf is done, cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Bon Appétit!—gcc