Sunday, December 9, 2012

French Bread

I am forever going to be making my own French bread. This was so delicious, it froze nicely, it baked well. Two thumbs up! I precut my french bread into smaller portions so that I could just grab out of the freezer and go. I have made garlic bread, and cheesy bread.

I would say if you do make some and freeze it, I wouldn't let it sit in the freezer past 3 months. It would probably start getting a stale taste and what not.

Prep: 40 Minutes
Rise: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Rest: 10 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Oven: 375 degrees
Makes 2 loaves (28 slices)

 51/2-6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
11/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water ( 120 to 130 degrees)
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1. In a large mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt. Add the 2 cups warm water to the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic ( 8 to 10 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease dough surface. Cover, let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size ( about 1 hour).

3. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover, let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking  sheet, sprinkle greased baking sheet with cornmeal.

4. Roll each dough half into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Tightly roll up, starting from a long side, seal well. If desired, pinch and slightly pull ends to taper them. Place shaped dough, seam sides down on prepared baking sheet. In a small  bowl stir together egg white and the 1 tablespoon water. Brush some of the egg white mixture over loaf tops. Let rise until nearly double in size about 35-45 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degree. Using a sharp knife, make three or four diagonal cutes abouts 1/4 deep across each loaf top. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush again with some of the egg white mixture. Continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

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