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 Recipe 
Title French Bread from your Stand Mixer 
        
        
Preparation time 6+ hours start to finish, about 30 minutes active 
Servings 3-4 loaves 
Ingredients 5-6 cups bread flour
2 cups water, divided
2 Tblsp active dried yeast
1 Tblsp salt

 
Method In a stand mixer's bowl add 5 cups flour and 1-1/2 cups slightly warm water. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed for 5 minutes. It will look kind of "shaggy"... don't worry, it's supposed to.


Add yeast to remaining water and stir. Let yeast and dough rest (separately) 15 minutes.

Pour yeast over dough, knead with machine for 5 minutes on low; rest 15 minutes.

Sprinkle salt over dough. Knead with machine for 15 minutes, increasing speed and adding flour if necessary for full distribution. Form into tight ball, seam side down. Cover with floured cloth. Rest 15 minutes.

Flip dough onto floured work surface and flatten slightly. Grab each side, stretch, and fold into the center. Repeat with the top and bottom, leaving you with a rectangle. Flip seam side down, cover with towel.


Let rise until doubled, approximately 2 hours.


On a floured work surface, punch down. Divide into thirds or quarters (or halves, for boules; see below). Form into balls, cover lightly, and let rest 5 minutes. Rub flour into a large cotton towel and lay on a board or peel. Make a standing pleat at a short end of the towel and set aside.

Shape your loaves. There are several methods, some listed in the source article. I've always been partial to rolling sort of a rectangle, folding the bottom third up and press using the heel of your palm. Fold the top third down and again press firmly to seal where the “flap” connects. Tuck the ends into a curve and press tight.



Place on your floured towel seam side up, pulling sections up to separate the loaves. Cover with remaining towel and and let rest another 2 hours.


Add baking stone to oven's lowest shelf and place a heat safe metal container (cast iron skillet is perfect) on the oven floor; preheat to 425F. Baking stones take a while to heat up, so turn your oven on about halfway through the final rest (an hour after you shape).

Toss a half cup of water into skillet and quickly close door – you're creating steam. Flour or spread cornmeal on your peel or baking sheet lined with parchment, place loaves smooth side up (flip from towel), slash in three places with a sharp knife or razor, open oven door and slide onto the stone.


Bake approximately 25 minutes (light golden brown, internal temp 200F, should sound hollow). Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Done

 
Nutritional information  
Credit I adapted a recipe I saw on an episode of the Julia Child show, before the internet! I had recorded it on my VCR and watched it over and over until I had the measurements and the “turns” (flipping within kneading), rest, and rises down pat. Then I counted the rounds of my stand mixer, did the math, and made a gazillion loaves of bread! About 20 years now, and this method still works for me.

Found the essence of the method documented here, authentically using all hand kneading if you're so inclined. 
Posted by Linda 
Posted on Thursday 26 January 2017 - 16:42:04