Friday, March 2, 2012

Fabulous French Bread

We love carbs at our house, especially breads.  I try really hard to not make too many but sometimes nothing beats a hot, fresh loaf of bread straight out of the oven to go with dinner.

Seriously how can you eat spaghetti or alfredo without something to dip in the sauce.  At least that's what the hubs tells me.  

Most of the time we have our standard whole version but every once in a while I branch out and make pure white bread, which is a major treat at our house.

My mom introduced us to this bread and we have enjoyed it.  It is quite quick to make, at least as far as yeast breads go, and it is delicious. Especially with some garlic butter, mmm...tasty!

Fabulous French Bread

(click here for printable version)

1 tbsp shortening
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
5 - 6 cup white all purpose flour
1 egg

1. Place the hot water in the microwave for 3 minutes to boil. While water is in microwave, dissolve the yeast into the 1/3 cup warm water. Stir until mixed and let sit until frothy.

2. Combine the salt, shortening, and sugar in the bottom of your mixer with a fork. The dough hook doesn't work very well. So just smash until mixture is completely combined and resembles fine crumbs.  Pour the boiling water over the shortening mixture. Then pour the cold water over the same mixture. Then pour the yeast mixture into the mixer with everything else.

3. Turn on your mixer and begin to add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of your mixer. Let the dough mix on high for 8 minutes. Turn off and let sit (in your mixer)  for 20 minutes.  (If you are in a hurry you can skip this step but I recommend not if you have the time)

4. Separate the dough into three parts and place on a large jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray. Let the dough sit for about 5-10 minutes. Letting it sit will make it MUCH easier to shape.

5.  Using one section of dough at a time, shape each in to a loaf and place back on pan, seam side down. Repeat with the other 2 parts of dough.

6. Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray, my serrated one works the best.  In a small bowl, whisk your egg until frothy. Cut three diagonal slits in the top of each loaf. Using a pastry brush, cover dough with the egg wash being sure to get it into all of the slits.

7.  Place the loaves in a warm 170°F degree oven and let rise for about 15 minutes. Turn the oven up to  400°F degrees, leaving the loaves in while the oven increases in temperature. Once the oven has reached temperature, bake for 15 more minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and crusty.  Turn the oven down to 350°F and turn the pan around in the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on cooling rack.  Serve and enjoy!

Source: Jamie Cooks It Up
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