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French Bread

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French Bread
  • Prep Time 25 min
  • Total Time 8 hr 0 min
  • Servings 32
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Enjoy these warm loaves of traditional French bread, made at home by baking in oven.

Ingredients

1 1/2
cups all-purpose flour*
1
package regular active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1
cup very warm water (120° to 130°)
1
teaspoon salt
1 1/3
to 1 2/3 cups bread flour

Directions

  • 1 In large bowl, mix all-purpose flour and yeast. Add warm water. Beat with wire whisk or electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently, until batter is very smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand about 1 hour or until bubbly.
  • 2 Stir in salt and enough bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy (dough will be soft). Grease large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  • 3 Grease uninsulated cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on lightly floured surface, forming it into an oval-shaped mound. Sprinkle top of dough with flour. Press straight down with a straight-edged knife lengthwise on dough to divide it into 2 equal parts (the parts will be elongated in shape). Gently shape each part into a narrow loaf, about 16 inches long, stretching the top of the loaf slightly to make it smooth. Place loaves, smooth sides up, about 4 inches apart on cookie sheet.
  • 4 Cover loaves loosely, but airtight, with plastic wrap. (Loaves will expand slightly in the refrigerator.) Refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours. (This step can be omitted, but refrigerating develops the flavor and texture of the bread. If omitted, continue with next step.)
  • 5 Uncover loaves and spray with cool water; let loaves rise in warm place about 1 hour or until refrigerated loaves have come to room temperature.
  • 6 Place 8-inch or 9-inch square pan on bottom rack of oven; add hot water to pan until about 1/2 inch from the top. Heat oven to 475° F.
  • 7 Carefully cut 1/4-inch-deep slashes diagonally across loaves at 2-inch intervals with sharp serrated knife. Spray loaves with cool water. Place loaves in oven and spray again.
  • 8 Reduce oven temperature to 450° F. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until loaves are deep golden with crisp crust and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool.
Tips  

*Do not use self-rising flour.

The traditional flavor and texture of French bread is developed by making a sponge and by refrigerating the shaped loaves before baking. A sponge is a bread-dough mixture made in the first step with the yeast and some of the flour and water. Spraying the loaves with water and adding a water pan to the oven help to make a crunchy crust. For the most delicious French Bread serve it the same day you bake it.

Nutrition Information 

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1 Slice
Calories
40
(
Calories from Fat
0
)
Daily Value
Total Fat
0g
0%
(
Saturated Fat
0g
0%
,
Trans Fat
0g
)
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
75mg
3%
Potassium
20mg
1%
Total Carbohydrate
9g
3%
(
Dietary Fiber
0g
0%
,
Sugars
0g
)
Protein
1g
Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
0%
0%
Vitamin C
0%
0%
Calcium
0%
0%
Iron
4%
4%
Exchanges:
1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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