My mom was awful at anything involving a kitchen. When she first got married, she could barely boil water without setting off the fire alarm. She dedicated her time to learning how to cook. This process took a lot of trial and error; eventually, after eating loaves of bread with stone-like consistency and learning to use real sugar rather than Splenda, this family recipe was perfected to its current form.
Time: 2-3 hours
Yield: 2 Loaves of bread
What you will need:
8 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons dough enhancer (optional)
3 cups water
4 tablespoons olive oil
To begin, preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Next, grab a mixing bowl. (I use the bowl attached to my mixer.) Put all of the ingredients in the bowl, starting with the dry ingredients and then the wet, adding the water last.
The water should be hot but not scalding. This is important because the temperature of the water will determine how fluffy the bread will be in the end. If it is too cold it will not activate the yeast, and if it is too hot it will kill the yeast.
Next, turn on the mixer with the dough hook attached and mix the ingredients for 3 minutes. The dough should be rolling into one ball and scraping the sides of the bowl dry. If that does not happen then the dough is too wet, so carefully add more flour until it does so.
Before placing the bowl in the oven, punch the dough into the bottom of the bowl. This will build gluten. Then place a lid on the bowl and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. The dough will double in size.
While waiting for the dough to rise, coat a cookie sheet with olive oil.
After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the oven and take off the lid. Next, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet that has been coated in extra olive oil.
Begin to form the dough into loaves. Split the dough evenly in half and shape each one into a French loaf. (For reference on what a French loaf looks like, Google it or look on Pinterest, but avoid looking at Pinterest fails.)
Next, score the loaves by lightly dragging a serrated knife across the top in three diagonal lines. This will allow any gasses to escape while the bread is baking.
Return the loaves to the oven on the cookie sheet. Let them rise for 20 minutes with the oven still set at 170 degrees.
When that timer goes off, do not remove the loaves from the oven. Instead, increase the heat to 425 degrees and set another timer for 23 minutes.
When finished, remove from the oven and let the loaves stand and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into them. Brush them with olive oil for the perfect flaky crust.
Serve with lots of butter and enjoy.