Anyone ever bake Clayton's French Bread with beaten egg whites?
Tonight I'm making a nice lemon chicken picatta and I thought I'd do a quick Italian bread. I dusted off my Bernard Clayton New Complete Book of Breads, just because I haven't opened it in so long and thought I could find a quick recipe within it. Instead, I became fixated on a recipe for French Bread made with beaten egg whites. I was curious - French bread made with egg whites? It didn't call for an overnight ferment, although it certainly could have had one, I suppose, but it fit the bill.. looked easy enough and was quick.
The recipe calls for beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form, which I did. Then it called for adding all the ingredients, but one cup of the bread flour, together with the egg whites. When the egg whites are combined, Clayton suggests adding the last cup of flour a bit at a time. I did that and all of the egg whites incorporated nicely (I used my Magic Mill). The recipe called for a wash of water, mixed with cornstarch and salt. Brush it on the loaf and then add sesame seeds. It suggested you do this on the second rise after shaping and not to cover the loaves, but let them double uncovered. The dough was quite soft to work with, but still, a nice dough.
I have to say, the bread came out beautifully, although baked at 350 degrees, they seemed a bit more pale than I'm used to. Has anyone ever made this bread and from experience, are french breads usually made with egg? The bread is extremely soft and fluffy on the inside, the crust - of course, isn't crispy or overly crunchy, but it will make a nice loaf for sopping up the lemon, garlic and parsley sauce of the chicken.
Overall, I love his book but I tend not to reach for it first since I have to break down all the ingredients into weights. I really must use it more often though, there are many recipes that intrigue me!