rustic french bread {with sea salt}

This morning when I woke, it was dark. Thunder rumbling in the heavens. Baby streaks of lightning popping in the sky. A few minutes later … little rain drops strumming a song overhead. Ahhhh.

When it rains in Austin these days, it’s a celebration and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all that humidity hanging thick in the air than by baking bread.

french bread with sarah's sea saltFor our supper tonight, I decided on a simple French loaf but I added a little something special called Sarah’s Mediterranean Sea Salt.

My friend, Carol, introduced me to Sarah’s Sea Salts. Oh, y’all. Talk about amazing. You pretty much have to order them online unless you live in Austin and have time to swing by Chez Zee. They have a small collection for purchase by the host stand. Or I imagine you could make your own special sea salt. Sarah’s blend includes spices, garlic, lavender, rosemary and basil … I think I’ll stick to buying it.

French Bread with Sarah’s Sea Salt

1 pkg yeast * 1 c. warm water * 1 1/2 t. sugar * 2 t. Sarah’s Mediterranean Sea Salt * 3 c. bread flour * 1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Pour EVOO in metal bowl, using your fingers to coat sides. Set aside.

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Wait 5 minutes for yeast to foam. In a separate bowl, combine 2 c. bread flour with salt. Add yeast mixture, stirring until flour is incorporated. Pour out 1/2 c remaining flour on counter. Dump dough mixture on counter. Knead in flour, adding last 1/2 cup as needed.

Place dough in oiled bowl. Cover with thin dish cloth. Allow to rise til doubled ~ about an hour. Punch down dough and knead lightly with several tablespoons flour on counter. Divide dough. Shape in loaves, tucking seams underneath.  Place on silpat lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, lightly slash top of loaves diagonally. Sprinkle with addition sea salt if desired. Allow to rise for 30 more minutes.

Bake loaves at 375 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. If desired, 5 minutes before bread is finished baking brush on butter to aid in browning. Cool 10 -15 minutes.

The flavor of this bread reminds me of Macaroni Grill’s foccacia bread. It’s because of Sarah’s Sea Salt.

I had a slice toasted for breakfast this morning with eggs and tomatoes. Gracious.

easy french breadI’d like to try it for lunch with salami and cheese. Or maybe happy hour with some dipping oils. Mmmm.

Hope there’s some left for supper tonight …