Wednesday, March 17, 2010

French Bread

French Bread

IMG_41531 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shortening (we used unsalted butter)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 - 4 cups flour
egg white
1 tablespoon water
sesame seeds (optional)

 Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed of an electric mixeruntil smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Let stand 10 min. Stir gently for a few seconds; cover. Repeat gentle stirring at 10 min. intervals for 40 min. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half to a 15- x 8-inch rectangle. Roll up jellyroll fashion, starting with the long side; pinch ends and seam to seal. Place loaves, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Make diagonal slits about 1/4-inch deep down the length of loaves, using a sharp knife. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; beat with a wire whisk until blended. Brush loaves with egg white mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 45 min. or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Yield: 2 loaves. 
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