Thursday, March 12, 2009

French Bread

- 6 cups non-bleached all-purpose flour (I use bread flour from a local Amish store)
- 5 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 Tbsp butter, softened
- oil and corn meal for baking sheet
- 1 egg white and 1 Tbsp cold water for brushing

Mix all the ingredients in a medium size bowl, mix well. When it forms a dough, place on counter and knead, for about 10 minutes or till the dough surface is smooth and elastic. Dough will be tough at this point. Place dough in a large bowl, pour about 1 Tbsp of oil and coat the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in draft free warm place. Let it rise for 1 hour or till doubled in bulk.
Punch down. Divide dough into half. Roll out each dough into 12x15 inch rectangle using a rolling pin. Roll dough tightly, from longest side. Pinch the seam. On a large baking sheet, pour about 1 Tbsp oil to grease, and dust the pan with cornmeal. Place loaves on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Cover. Let it rise till doubled in bulk.
With sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf. Bake at 450 degree F oven for 25 minutes (my oven does better at 420 degree). Remove from oven. Beat egg white and water together, and brush each loaf. Return to oven and bake additional 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.
Makes 2 large loaves.

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