Monday, July 9, 2007

French Bread

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbls sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbls yeast (or two packages)
2 cups hot water (straight-hot tap water works great)
1 egg white
1 tbls water

Set aside 1 cup flour. In large bowl, mix remaining flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Stir hot water into dry mixture. Mix in enough reserved flour to make dough soft (or so it doesn't stick to the sides of your mixing bowl). Mix about 5 minutes in mixer or knead by hand on floured surface 8-10 minutes. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Roll half of dough to 15 x 10 inch rectangle. (I sprinkle mine with fresh Parmesan and fresh chopped garlic). Roll up tightly from long side like a jelly roll, tapering ends. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place, seam side down, on greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining half of dough. Cover; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 35-40 minutes.

With sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf. Combine egg white and 1 tbls water; brush on loaves. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

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