Bread Machine French Bread

Do you have a bread machine?  Do you use it?  I use mine all the time because it makes making homemade bread so EASY!  I makes homemade rolls, pizza crust, pita bread and more.  Today I am tackling a basic french bread recipe.

The inspiration for this recipe came after watching an episode of Top Chef New Orleans where the teams were charged with cooking Vietnamese cuisine.  Great episode that left me drooling for some crusty french bread drenched in butter.

Upon researching a recipe for Banh Mi Tay, I discovered this gem of a site -http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2007/05/vietnamese_bagu.html
I decided to give the recipe a go in my bread machine and see how it came out.  Although I don't mind making my own "loaves" I figured I'd let the bread machine do all the work today.

Bread Machine French Bread - (Vietnamese Baguette Recipe borrowed and adapted from http://www.vietworldkitchen.com blog, see link above)

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (or all-purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Add all ingredients to bread machine in the order listed (or according to your bread machine recommendations and set for basic bread cycle.  Remove when cooking cycle completes and allow to cool uncovered for at least an hour before slicing.  If you try to slice bread when it is hot/too warm, you will end up crushing the beautiful masterpiece you have just created so have a little patience.  I promise it will be worth the wait!  Serve toasted with lots of vegan butter.

Chef's note:  If you prefer to form your own loaves, set bread machine for "dough" and remove and form your own loaves to bake in your oven.  After forming two loaves, allow loaves to rise covered with a tea towel for 40 minutes.  Cut three slits in loaves (not just pretty but allow steam to escape) and bake at 450 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  Cooking times may vary based on your oven and size of your loaves.  Be sure to let bread cool to room temperature before slicing so you don't end up with a gummy mess.

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