Lets talk about bread. I love a good baguette, but I'm sad that so many people don't know either what a good baguette even is, let alone where to look for them. Unfortunately I'm in an area with low expectations for the artisan craft of bread making, but when I've been to big cities, you can always find good fresh bread. Usually the smaller a market, the better. Or better yet find an actual bakeshop that churns out their own stuff (not some frozen, shipped from a corporate headquarters crap [coughHarvestBreadcough]). I found the coolest little bread and soup shop the other day and it made me want to drive the two hours to get there more often.
Here is one of my favorite bread recipes, I usually add rosemary and garlic.
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 6 cups bread flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
- Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.