You probably know the caricature of the French: baguette and beret! Well, the beret is truly a caricature (mastered in the movie
with Mark Walberg) as you will not see that many people wearing it if you go to France, except if they are a certain age; but the baguette is true! Bread is an institution there! You will find boulangeries very easily, with many types of breads: baguette, sour dough, with olives, blue cheese.... In restaurants, they will always give you some bread with your meal: as much as you want!
When I came in this country, I missed passing by a boulangerie and buying my baguette or ficelle (very thin baguette - outstanding when hot with just butter on it). Well, I then discovered different types of breads (Challah, focaccia, Hero, bagel...) and locations to buy some: whole food (great baguette), Balthazar (bread sold in different stores) or Amy's bread. Then, to counter the fact that there are not as many boulangeries as I would like, I bought a bread machine: it is great! The kneading is better than doing it by hand (I tested on burger rolls) and you can set the machine so when you wake up, you have fresh bread for breakfast. Not to mention the sensational smell of fresh bread in your home!
Here is an easy recipe of French bread where I replaced part of the water with olive oil to give a hint of olive flavor and make the bread moist.
Ingredients for 2lb:
- 1 1/4 cup (30 cl) lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup (5 cl) olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 cups of flour (1 cup = 128 grams)
Put all the ingredients together and knead them until obtaining a firm, non sticky dough. Let rise for 1 hour. Put the bread on a backing sheet and make some incisions on top with a knife. Let sit for 30 more minutes.
Pre-heat the oven at 375 degrees.
Cook for 30 minutes.
Once done, let the bread cool on a cooling rack. Et Voila!