Week 21 - French Bread

For week 21 I decided to try my hand at making french bread from the 1940 cookbook "Hamilton Ross Modern Cook Book", which I picked up at Goodwill. This cookbook is full of lots of standard recipes and is well organized. I can see using this cookbook for other things in the future. It doesn't have any illustrations on the inside but I love the the design of the spine, as well as the inscription on the inside to Virginia from her mom, dated 1943. I wish I knew who Virginia was and what she might have cooked from this book.

 "Hamilton Ross Modern Cook Book", published 1940

"Hamilton Ross Modern Cook Book", published 1940

 1943 inscription to Virginia, from her mom

1943 inscription to Virginia, from her mom

The ingredients are pretty simple since, according to French law, "French" bread can contain just water, flour, salt and yeast and cannot have added oil or fat.  The biggest hassle was having to knead the bread, but other than that, it was pretty easy to make.

 
 Ingredients for French bread

Ingredients for French bread

 

Despite the simplicity of the directions, making this bread was not without some issues.  The instructions didn't specify how long to let the dough rise once it was formed into a loaf, and I don't make bread very often, so let the loaf rise too long which caused the loaf to rise and then collapse. So, I had to re-knead the dough and start again.

 
 The formed loaf, ready for the oven

The formed loaf, ready for the oven

 

I also don't have a baguette pan, so the resulting loaf looked more like Italian bread rather than a French baguette.  I was a bit worried that the bread was going to be too dense, because I had to knead it twice, but it was really light and delicious.  We served it with soup and it made excellent toast the next morning.

 The final loaf of French bread

The final loaf of French bread

Week 21 Roundup

Cookbook: "Hamilton Ross Modern Cook Book" published in 1940

Recipe: French Bread

Difficulty: Pretty easy, but don't let it rise too long

Alterations: None

Results: Very good

Make Again: Yes