Monday, July 28, 2008

Hot French Bread

I just started our family favorite French Bread. It's a great recipe from my favorite cookbook "Talk About Good". If you don't have this cookbook, get it. On p. 32 is "Pain Ordinaire" or French Bread. It makes three loaves so we usually eat one and freeze two. I'm cooking a meal for the crew of the movie "Building Bridges" being shot here in Houston. I've already made three pots of gumbo and frozen them. Now this bread will go with the gumbo. I'll make a few batches and freeze them.

The boys and Greg usually hang around in the kitchen when it is baking. I have to "shoo" them out. I don't like to trip over people while I'm in the kitchen (unless they are helping). They can't wait until the bread is out of the oven and then they beg for some and I oblige. They love it fresh out of the oven and we usually wolf down a whole loaf with a meal.

Jesus said he is the Bread of Life. That got me to thinking. People loved being around Jesus. They couldn't get enough of him. If Christ truly dwells in us, then we should be attractive to people. They should always want to be around us, spending time with us as we pour into their lives the love of Jesus. I don't think I live up to this ideal. Sometimes I think I walk around town with a "sour" face on. That doesn't attract people. I constantly remind the boys when we are in public that they are an example of Christ, our family, and homeschooling, so they need to be mindful of their words and actions. I think I will include myself in the next reminder.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

FRENCH BREAD (Pain Ordinaire) from Talk About Good

2 c. warm water (64 seconds in microwave)
1 pkg. dry yeast (2 1/4 teas. bread yeast)
3 Tbsp. shortening
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
6 c. sifted flour

TOPPING (do not add to bread maker):
1 egg white
2 Tbsp. water

Throw everything into the bread maker. Put on "dough" setting. When it is done. Punch it down one more time and let it rise again for at least 30 minutes in the bread maker with the lid closed (this is an important step, don't skip). Divide the dough into 3 parts. Shape into loaves, tapering the ends. Put on parchment paper on 3 cookie sheets. Make several gashes about 1/8 inch deep on each loaf. Do not cover. Let rise about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For crisp crust, place shallow pan of water on bottom of oven (I use a foil container). Beat egg whites slightly with water; brush tops of loaf just before cooking. Bake for 20 minutes. Freeze to maintain freshness and reheat in foil.

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