French cuisine consists of cooking traditions and practices from France. At one time French cuisine was heavily influenced by Italian cuisine. It was in the 17th century that some chefs led a movement that developed France’s own indigenous style by shifting it away from its foreign influences. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles regionally and nationally, with many variations.
French cuisine was codified in the 20th century as the modern haute cuisine. Knowledge of French cooking has contributed significantly to Western cuisines and its criteria are used widely in Western cookery school boards and culinary education.
French regional cuisine is characterized by its extreme diversity and style. Traditionally, each region of France has its own distinctive cuisine.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Mix yeast with one cup and two tablespoons of lukewarm water in a big bowl and stir until well dissolved. Gradually beat in half the flour to form a batter.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about three hours or until the dough triples in volume and starts to collapse. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, beating with your hand.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for eight to ten minutes to form a moist dough.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and set it in warm place for about an hour to rise. When the dough has almost doubled in volume, knock back and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll into a disc.
Fold the two sides of the top half inwards in the shape of a triangle and further keep rolling in the triangle till you reach the other end of the disc to form an oblong shaped loaf.
Give slits on the surface and set aside covered with a damp cloth to rise further.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Place the loaf on a baking tray. Spray water over the loaf and bake in the preheated oven for forty to fifty minutes.
Keep spraying water from time to time. This will help the crust to harden. When done, remove, cool on a wire rack and slice only when completely cooled and required.
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