Sunday, November 4, 2012

Easy Homemade French Bread

My friend who is the queen of recipes gave me this one.  It makes two large loaves that are a little bit bigger, and 100% yummier, than those you could buy in the grocery store bakery department.  They turned out golden brown, crispy outside and super soft and excellent texture on the inside, even two days later.  Plus this is a very simple to make recipe.  We ate one half of a loaf for dinner as garlic bread, cubed up the other half and used it in bread pudding, and I've sliced the other and put it in the freezer to use in a french toast dish I'm signed up to make for a teacher's luncheon at my boys' school.  You could easily mix up the dough, bake one loaf and freeze the remaining dough (before the 30 minute rise) for later use as bread, breadsticks, pizza dough, cinnamon roll dough, hoagie rolls, etc.  Just take the dough out of the freezer, allow to come to room temperature and proceed at the 30 rise mark (approx. 3-5 hours total time).

1/2 c. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. (one 7g pkg.) dry yeast
2 c. very hot water
1/3 c. oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
6 c. flour

1.  Combine the warm water and the yeast.  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, combine the hot water, oil, sugar, salt and half of the flour.  Stir with a wooden spoon (I used my electric mixer instead).
3.  Add yeast mixture and stir.
4.  Add the remaining flour and stir.  Leave spoon in the dough.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Stir and let rest again.  Repeat the rest and stir process three more times (for a total of 5 times). 
5.  Divide dough in half.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Press out to a rectangle.  Roll up (like making cinnamon rolls) and place on a greased baking sheet (one 11X17" baking sheet works just fine) repeat with the other half. 
6.  Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.  With a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal slashes across each loaf.  Brush with egg white. 
7.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.


You could place an oven safe dish of water on the lower rack of the oven while these are baking to give the crust some extra texture, it's not necessary, but dosen't hurt anything.

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