Hold tight and both recipes for Baked French Toast and the Artisan Bread are at the bottom...
Alrighty - as promised - Recipes!
Baked French Toast:
I got this recipe off The Pioneer Woman (link on left). I love the fact that you can change a lot up - such as substituting a sweet bread, adding fruit, and adding Cinnamon to the liquid mixture. Skim milk works great and cutting the butter also works if you are more health conscience. It was sweet enough that butter and syrup really didn't need to be added. What I TRULY loved was that it tasted awesome as leftovers also! If you have fresh eggs I strongly suggest you use them! It really raised it up and gave it a light texture. Store bought eggs gave it a more dense texture (I had to try and brag about my fresh eggs - I think everyone should have a backyard chicken or two, or three).
1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
½ cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
¾ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
Fresh Fruit (optional)
Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.
Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. (If you’re using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.) Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.
Simple Artisan Crust Bread
You're going to die when you see how easy this is. Adding honey, spices, cheese, for taste also works well. Those of you at high elevations: I live at 8,000 feet and didn't have to change a thing. It wasn't a very dense bread, but if you want it a little lighter add a little flour and take away some yeast. Yeast rises much faster at a high elevation. You can also punch it down once and let it rise again or add a little salt. But like I said I didn't have any problems. That could also be due to baking it with water on a stone.
1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt
6 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Cups Lukewarm Water (~100 degrees)
Mix Yeast, Salt and Water. Stir in flour. Knead lightly (should be combined but not too much, not crumbly either) and then Cover (but let breathe) and let rise for 2 hours.
Cut into grapefruit sized pieces with a serrated knife and shape into a round loaf (can sprinkle with cornmeal) and Let rest for 40 min.
Heat stone for 20 minutes in oven at 450 degrees
Dust with flour and slash - put 1 cup water in broiling pan
Bake ~30 min. or until lightly brown on top.