Monday 15 December 2014

French Bread - and toast!

We had some neighbours over for brunch a few weekends ago.  When I make brunch I like to have some of the main items ready to throw in the oven so that I can visit.  Uually French toast is a hit with everyone, including kids, so it's often a go-to oven dish for me.

On the weekend of the brunch, it was about -25 without the windchill, and of course, I forgot to buy French bread at the store.  Rather than brave the cold I decided to make a no fail French bread recipe that I love.   The best part about this is that it's bread-maker friendly, so it truly is almost zero work.  Here's the recipe:

Easy French Bread

1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp bread machine or quick rise yeast

Put the ingredients in your bread maker* and select the dough setting.  When complete, roll out the dough into a 15 x 7 inch rectangle, and then tightly roll it jelly roll style, tapering the ends.   Cut slashes about 1/2 an inch deep in the top, and let rise for 30 mins.  Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for  approx 20 mins.  Note: some people brush the top with egg yolk before baking to enhance the golden colour, but I don't bother with this.

*if you don't have a bread maker, you can also make without.  Just proof the yeast in the sugar and warm water, add the flour and salt, and knead dough for approximately 8 mins. (until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as necessary.). Let rise in the oven with the light on for approximately 1 hr.  Punch dough down, roll out, and bake as directed above.

I don't know where to give credit for this recipe.  It's written on a very well used index card in my recipe box and I have no idea where I originally got it.

For the French toast, I use a recipe from Kraft that is so simple.  The key to the recipe is to make sure the cream cheese is SUPER SOFT before using, and to beat the milk and eggs in very very gradually, or else you will have a chunky egg wash.  It will also seem like you have way too much egg mixture. Dump it all on the soaking bread afterwards.  It will soak it all up and make your toast even more delicious!  Here is a link to the recipe.  This recipe works equally well if you let it sit in your refrigerator for an hour or so as if you let it soak all night.

The french toast turned out great alongside some quiche, fresh fruit and banana bread.

Brunch is quickly becoming my new favorite activity on the weekends.  Gives a chance for my husband and I  to catch up with friends while the kids play.  Can't wait for the next one!
This loaf yielded about 15 slices of bread.....and the french toast recipe more than accomodates that much.

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