I don’t know where this recipe originated, but it was passed along to me by my friend, Tiffany. My son and I were able to have some delightful first, second and third experiences with this tasty bread during a recent visit with Tif and her family. Let’s just say that we enjoyed it…a lot. So, we brought home the recipe.
Tiffany and I met in college some twenty years ago. We have a lot of similar interests–baking, gardening, reading and loving on our families. She and I do some of the same weird things–homeschool, drive really old vehicles whose “check engine” lights are almost always on and re-use storage bags and parchment paper. We appreciate one another’s differences, too. We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, and we’re okay with that. Really, Tif’s greatest flaw is that she thinks Double-Stuf Oreos are disgusting. Obviously, she’s wrong…but I can overlook that.
One of the things that I love most about Tiffany is that I can count on her to tell me the truth in love. For the better part of a year, I went through a rough patch of adulthood. I’m not sure exactly what all was the problem, but I felt a desperation and an isolation that was mostly new to me. I felt out of control and lost and so very, very lonely. It was awful. My perspective was so emotion-driven that it was skewed. I knew that it was skewed, but I had a hard time keeping myself together.
My friend heard my heart. She did not trivialize my pain. She did not condescend to my choices. She just repeatedly pointed me to Christ. She reminded me that my standard can be found in Him and that He is a safe place for my aching heart. She encouraged me to set aside time to just praise Him–to bask in His love and goodness. I knew all of these things already, but my soul was struggling to act on these truths. She was one of the friends whose loving counsel provided me with both motivation and accountability. I needed both.
Friends, love one another. Whether it’s an encouraging email, a listening ear or a warm loaf of bread, love the folks around you. There’s no time like the present.
So, back to the bread…
This is super easy to make and yields consistent results. And, any leftovers make killer French toast.
3-4 c. flour
2 t. salt
2 t. yeast
1 t. sugar
1 1/2 c. water
Mix 3 c. flour with remaining ingredients. Knead, adding in approximately 1 c. more of flour.
Cover and let rise in oiled bowl for 1 1/2 hours.
Make two long loaves. Let rise 1 hour on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
After rising time, make four evenly-placed horizontal slashes on top of loaves. I’ve found that a serrated knife works well for this.
In preheated 450-degree oven, bake for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature is between 190 and 210 degrees. (To create a traditional French bread crust, preheat an oven-safe pan on the lowest rack. After placing the unbaked bread in the oven, throw a 1/2-cup of water in the hot dish and quickly close the door.)
Brush with butter while still warm, if desired. (And why wouldn’t you desire it?)