French-style bread

Yield: 2 loaves

Measure Ingredient
1½ pack Yeast, active dry
1 tablespoon Sugar
2 cups Warm water (100-115 F.)
1 tablespoon Salt
5 cups Flour, all-purpose (or more)
1 tablespoon Egg white mixed with 1 Tbsp cold water
Cornmeal

Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a large bowl; allow the yeast to proof. Mix the salt with the flour and add to the yeast mixture a cup at a time. Mix until you have a stiff dough that forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn out on to a lightly floured surface, and knead until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary to maintain a stiff consistency. Place in a buttered or oiled bowl and turn to completely coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled; about 1½ - 2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Turn out on a lightly floured board, cut the dough into two halves. Roll each half into long french-style loaves.

Slash the tops diagonally in 3-4 places and brush with the egg white & water mixture. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal, but not buttered. Place sheet in a cold oven and bake at 400 F. for 35-40 minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when the tops are rapped.

Variations: 1. Use ½ whole-wheat & ½ white flour; or ½ cracked-wheat & ½ white. -Add 4-5 Tbsp olive oil to the liquid in the first step. You may need to add more flour. The olive oil will add tenderness if using whole or cracked-wheat flours. 2. After the first rising, punch down and knead again for 5-10 minutes. Return to the buttered bowl and let rise to double in size. Punch down & form into two long loaves, place on the baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Slash diagonally and brush with the egg white & water mixture. Place in a cold oven and bake at 400 F. for 35 minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when tapped. 3. Line the oven with tiles (a pizza stone works nice) and sprinkle with cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 400 F. and bake the bread on the stone for 35 minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when tapped.

Hints: The dough is kneaded enough when it springs back when you press a couple of fingers into it. I use 5 cups of flour in arid Calgary, if you are in a more humid climate you will need more like 6 cups. I usually add a couple of Tbsp of olive oil to the dough, it adds a nice flavor.

Typed by Bob 8-{)

Submitted By ROBERT WHITE On 02-16-95

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