Homemade Bread – Part II

Little Man is generally a really good eater, but sometimes he just decides for whatever reason that he doesn’t want a certain food (even if it was his favorite food just yesterday). But I do have a secret weapon. If the food comes from my plate or Big Man’s plate, it is the greatest thing ever to Little Man. He can have something on his plate and refuse to eat it but if I offer him a bite of the same thing from my plate 99% percent of the time he will eat it and want more. It’s about presentation as much as taste to him.

Truth be told, I am the same way about some foods. Ice cream tastes so much better in a cone than a bowl. Chocolate chip cookies taste different than chocolate chip cookie bars. And my homemade bread is different depending on the baking method. The recipe is the same one I shared here, but this is the way to make a free form baguette-type loaf similar to the ones sold in most grocery store bakeries. This is not a true baguette, but it is an excellent way to make a “french bread loaf” which can be used for garlic bread, french bread pizza, or eating warm with lots of butter.

Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat a baking stone in the oven to 450 degrees. Make sure there is a broiler pan on the bottom oven rack. Take a cantaloupe sized piece of dough, dust with flour and quickly shape into a ball, stretching the dough to create a smooth surface. Then elongate the ball into a cylinder shape, about 2-4 inches across.  The narrower cylinder will create a loaf with a higher crust to middle ratio. I generally go about 3-4 inches. Place on a pizza peal or other flat surface (I use a cookie sheet turned upside down) liberally sprinkled with flour. Let rest for 20 minutes (fresh dough) or 40 minutes (refrigerated dough).

Brush the top with water and slash using a serrated knife. Slide onto the preheated stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler pan. Then shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake for 20-35 minutes (depending on the size of your loaf) until the crust is a deep golden brown. Let cool completely or be impatient like I am and serve warm with lots of butter.

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