This “country bread” is a variation of the basic French Bread. I like to add a little whole wheat flour to the dough to approximate the “old-fashioned” taste this bread has in France. The shape of this bread is different, too, though there isn’t any reason why you couldn’t make a baguette or epi from it. I like to bake it as a large round loaf—the recipe makes two perfectly sized ones. This type of loaf is frequently risen in a cloth-lined basket called a banneton and inverted onto the pan before baking. You can approximate it by using a
Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the bread into thin slices. When I want to make smaller slices to serve with a meal, I cut the loaf in half first, then I stand the loaf cut side down and slice at
Keep the bread loosely covered on the day it is baked. Wrap tightly and freeze for longer storage. Defrost and reheat at 375°F (190°C), directly on the oven rack, for 7 to 8 minutes, and cool on a rack before serving.
Bâtards: Shape these the same way as the baguettes, but only make 2, using twice as much dough for each. Slash and bake as for the baguettes, but bake the bâtards 10 minutes longer.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.