Christmas Recipes

Classic French Bread


2 pkg. active dry yeast
2 1/2 c. warm water (110F)
7 1/2 to 8 c. flour
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg white blended with 1 Tbs. water for glaze


In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast in 2 1/2 c. water. Add 2 1/2 to 3 c. flour; stir 1 minute. Batter will have consistency of soft pudding. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap.. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, overnight or at least 8 hours. The longer the sponge ferments, the better the flavor will be. Stir in salt and 1 to 1 1/2 c. of remaining flour. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 6 minutes. Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Clean and lightly flour bowl. Knead dough 15 to 20 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in floured bowl; dust surface lightly with flour. Cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until tripled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Grease 2 large baking sheets or 4 French bread pans. Punch down dough; knead 2 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. FOR OBLONG LOAVES, divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on desired thickness of loaves. On a lightly floured surface. shape each piece into a smooth log, gently tapering ends.FOR ROUND LOAVES, divide dough in half. Shape each half into a smooth ball. Place shaped dough on prepared baking sheets. Cover with a dry towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Adjust oven racks 10 2 lowest positions. Place a shallow roasting pan on lowest shelf. Pour in two c. boiling water. PREHEAT OVEN 15 minutes to 425F. Slash tops of oblong loaves with 5 diagonal slashes each. Slash tops of each round loaf with 3 horizontal slashes and 3 vertical slashes, in a tic-tac-toe design. Brush loaves with cold water. Bake 15 minutes. Brush with egg-white glaze. Bake 10 minutes longer. Brush again with egg-white glaze. Remove roasting pan from oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer, for a total of 35 to 40 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Remove from pans. Place loaves directly on oven rack; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 to 4 loaves.

Added On: 2007-11-24
Submitted By: Staff
Filed under the following categories:
¬ Bread

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