Sunday, June 29, 2008

French Bread

I made this bread this week to show Dan that I know how to make bread from scratch. He didn't believe me at first because I hadn't made any at home before now. Unfortunately the picture that I took didn't turn out; hopefully I'll have better luck next time.

French Bread:
2 packages of dry yeast
2 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
6 c. all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt

1. Make sure water temperature is 110 to 115 degrees F. Place water in a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes until yeast dissolves and starts to bubble.

2. Stir in 2 cups flour and salt. Cover and let rise for ½ hour.

3. Then gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. (Knead by pressing the dough, then folding over and pressing with the heel of your hand.) Then clean the large mixing bowl, grease it with vegetable shortening, and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it in the bowl so that the dough is greased (this will prevent the dough from cracking as it rises.)

4. Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2 ½ hours, until doubled in bulk. With your fist, punch down the dough. Divide in half and place one half on a lightly floured surface.

5. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 12X6” rectangle. Starting with the 12” side, roll up tightly. Seal seams and edges by pinching. Repeat with remaining dough.

6. Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves on prepared sheet. Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

7. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray the loaves with a small amount of water, then using a blade, make a few slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake for 25-30 minutes until loaves are golden brown.

8. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on wire rack.

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