Yesterday I wanted pizza for supper, and we were out of bread. Though I confess I’ve been buying a lot of bread at the grocery store lately (gasp!), I wanted to make bread. It had been written on my to-do list all day. So to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to make dough for a French-style bread, then use half of it for bread and half for pizza crust.
Most basic french bread recipes are very similar to pizza dough recipes, in that they don’t have a lot beyond flour, water, yeast, and salt. Pizza crust usually has some oil, but it still works perfectly well if you leave that out.
I decided on the Cuban bread from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads. I think I tried it once before and it’s very simple. I was in a hurry and didn’t want to waste time agonizing over a recipe.
It worked fine for pizza, though it did have a slightly different texture than I am used to. No one complained.
I didn’t taste the bread until this morning, but I was very pleased when I did. Store-bought white french bread is the only store-bought white bread I buy, and that rarely. Rarely, because I can’t stop eating it, and it isn’t really healthy. It’s a guilty pleasure.
This tastes almost exactly the same. It doesn’t have the same texture; it’s denser, which is all to the good in my book. I hate a bread that just squashes down when you try to cut it.
So I definitely plan to make this again, though with some whole wheat in it so at least a smidge healthier.
I didn’t follow the directions exactly. Instead of a second rise, the recipe calls for shaping the dough and putting it in a cold oven, then turning it to 400 degrees F, so that the dough rises as the oven heats. I did a traditional shape, second rise, and then bake sequence.
I didn’t time the rise, I just kept checking it until it was nice and big and when I poked a finger in it, the indentation was slow to rebound. I call this the poke test.
The recipe can be found online at Bread Experience (though I hate to post the link because her bread looks much prettier than mine).