Well -- we moved. In early February. From Texas to Utah. It's been a big change, but we are close to family and slowly getting settled here. Cooking has been off and on -- which is why I haven't been posting here since we left.
Last night, however, I tried an easy new bread recipe. It made two large french bread loaves and they were light and soft. The recipe is from my mother-in-law who got it from Dianne.
2-1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. oil (I used canola)
1 tsp. salt + a pinch
6 c. flour (I added it slowly and only ended up using a little over 5 cups)
Mix the first three ingredients and set aside for about 10 minutes until yeast mixture is frothy. Add the next three ingredients -- adding the flour slowly. You may not need to use all six cups. You want the dough to still be tacky and just starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl as it's mixing.
Set dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for ten minutes then punch the dough down. Cover again, let rise for another ten minutes then punch dough. Repeat process one more time (for a total of 3 punching sessions and 30 minutes rise time). During last rising time preheat oven.
Shape into loaves on lightly greased (or siplat lined) baking sheet and place in oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes.
I did two french bread shaped loaves, but I'm told they can be shaped into baguettes or round loaves. I might even try buns or rolls with this recipe. Also, I was told that once the bread comes out of the oven you can mist it with water to make the crust crispy or brush with softened butter to make the crust soft. We used butter. Mmmmm!