Braden Family Cookbook

Chuck Braden

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JULIA CHILD'S FRENCH BREAD                     K.F. Braden


1 pkg. dry yeast
1/3 c warm water(100‑105 degrees)
3 c (1 lb.) all purpose flour, preferably unbleached
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c tepid water
About c cornmeal

Stir the yeast into 1/3 c water and let dissolve.  Measure flour into mixing bowl, stir yeast until dissolved, add to mixing bowl, mix hard.  Turn out onto board and let rest 3‑4 minutes. Wash out bow and measure out 10 C. tepid water and mark level outside to guide you later. Drain and dry the bowl.  Start kneading by flipping one side of dough over the other with a stiff spatula until the dough has enough body to push with the heel of your hand.  Sweep dough off the work surface with scraper and throw it roughly back, flip over half, scrape off board, throw back, continue until dough feels free of lumps and draws back when pulled out. Let rest again for 2 minutes. Knead again for a minute or two, dough should be soft, smooth, elastic, and pliable. (you now have @3cups of dough, kneading time 8‑10 minutes)  Place in clean bowl cover with airtight plastic wrap, let rise at room temp of 70‑75 degrees until it reaches the 10 c level you marked. (about 3‑5 hours)  Lightly flour working surface, punch down and flatten dough into a 10‑12 inch circle.  Flip near side over far, left onto right, finally flip near side completely over and just under far side. Clean out bowl lift dough back into it cover and let rise again almost to previous level(1 1/2‑2 hours)  Scoop dough out onto a lightly floured surface (preferably a canvas pastry cloth) and cut cleanly into 3 pieces. Flip near edge over far edge and let rest 4‑5 minutes. One at a time, flatten out each piece into an oval 8 or more inches long. Flip near side almost up to far side; flatten again. Always dusting work surface lightly with flour and  flip far side almost down over near side, flatten again. Then with the heel of your hand press lengthwise of flattened dough fold in two by flipping near side over far, seal two edges with the heel of your hand. You now have a fat sausage shape. Lengthen it to fit baking sheet (about 20x24 inches by placing hands in middle of sausage shape and roll back and forth while moving hands outward. Keep the circumference as even as possible. Form other pieces, lay on work surface (lightly floured) cover loosely with floured towel, and let rise till almost triple. Dough should look puffed and swollen (about 1 to 2 hours)  Sprinkle cornmeal over surface of baking sheet and over the edge of the un molding board (another sheet or whatever) roll a piece at a time onto un molding board and onto baking sheet, soft underside of dough on top.  Immediately make three slashes with a razor blade in top of each loaf.  At once spray surface with light film of water.  Place in lowest level of preheated 450 degree oven, at two minutes spray again, at four minutes spray again.  At minute 6 place in upper middle level, and spray final time. Bake 20‑25 minutes in all until loaves are crusty.  Turn off oven and leave 5‑10 minutes longer.  Remove and stand upright to cool. Makes three loaves, 16‑ 18"long and 3 "in diameter.