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French Bread

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French bread is one of the easiest breads to make. It has a crisp crust with a firm crumb.  This recipe will make 2 loaves.

Preparation Time: 2 hours 15 minutes approx.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes approx. 

Ingredients:

2 cups warm water not hot

1 package active dry yeast

2 Tbsps. white sugar

2 tsps. salt

5 1/2 cups bread flour approximatly

1 egg white

Vegetable oil

Corn meal

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 400 F

In a large bowl combine water, yeast, sugar and salt. Let rest for about 5 mins. or until yeast mixture is bubbly.

Mix in flour a little at a time. Only until a soft dough ball forms. You may need more or less flour.

Turn the french bread dough out onto a lightly floured service and knead for approximately 6 - 7 mins.

Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and rotate dough until all of it has been lightly coated in oil. Cover with damp clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until double in size. I like to place it on the top of my stove as it pre-heats. 

Once the french bread dough is double in size punch it down. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 2 mins.

Now divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a long narrow loaf. Place loaves onto a lightly oiled baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Make about 3 slits at an angle with a sharp knife. No more than 3/4 inch deep, into the top of each loaf.

Cover loaves with a warm damp cloth and let rise for 45 minutes or until double in size. I place them on the top of my stove. 

When the loaves are double in size brush them with beaten egg.

Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes. At that time open the oven and mist the loaves lightly with cold water. This is what helps to make the crisp crust.

Now turn down the oven to 350 F and continue baking bread for another 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove bread from the oven and transfer the loaves to a cooling rack or a clean dry cloth.

Allow to cool to the touch before slicing.

Slather with garlic butter and enjoy.

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