By Susan Crapo
YIELD Makes one 8" loaf, plus one French-style baguette.
A staple from Susan Crapo’s lake house in Michigan at Pointe Aux Barques
This WAS breakfast – toasted with thick slices of tomato (sometimes with bacon!) and a big French press of dark roast –
on the patio looking out to the horizon over Lake Huron…heavenly.
We made it (and ate it) and we’re glad (in the kitchen at PAB - from left Trish Crapo, Will, Heather Dewar, Liza Crapo, Pam & Tom)!
1 T. active dry yeast
1 ¾ c. warm water
2 ½ tsp. coarse salt or 1 ½ tsp. table salt
4-5 c. white flour (unbleached)
1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Dissolve the yeast in a large bowl with ¼ c. of the warm water.
Mix the salt with the remaining water and stir into the yeast.
Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly.
Stir the dough until it becomes difficult to stir, then turn out onto a floured surface.
Let the dough rest while you clean and grease the bowl.
Knead the dough about 10 minutes, adding a little flour as required.
Put the dough ball into the greased bowl and turn it a few times until it is coated. Then cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it is roughly triple in bulk.
Punch the dough down and let rise again until it is double in bulk.
Turn the dough out, add cheese and knead just long enough to incorporate the cheese.
Shape about 2/3rds of the dough to fill an 8” greased bread pan.
Roll the remaining dough into a French-style loaf about 10-12” oblong and put on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal.
Let both loaves rise again to double (3rd rise).
Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven (brush or spray the French loaf lightly as it goes in the oven and again in about 2 minutes).
Remove the French loaf after 20 minutes.
Bake the pan loaf another 5-10 minutes longer at 350 degrees (reduced from 450).
Cool both loaves on racks.
Susan’s advice for forming a French Loaf:
After the 2nd rising, pat 1/3rd of the dough into a round cake about 7 inches in diameter. Then using the palms of your hands, lightly floured, coax the sides of the dough down and under all the way around, at the same time plumping up the loaf which will become more oblong as you go. You will feel an invisible elastic cloak of gluten surrounding the dough - just stretch it, don’t break it. Pick up the round and pinch together the seams on the bottom. Place seam side down on a corn meal sprinkled, greased baking sheet.