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Country French Bread

Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 35 mins
Yield

2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk powde
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

How to Make It

  1. Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, milk powder, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Heat water, yogurt, and 2 tablespoons oil until very warm (120° to 130°F); stir into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.

  2. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 5-inch ball. Place balls on large greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush dough with remaining oil. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving room for dough to rise. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

  3. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator. Uncover dough carefully. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. With sharp knife, make 4 or 5 diagonal slashes (1/4 inch deep) across top of each loaf. Brush with egg white mixture.

  4. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 35 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet; let cool on wire racks. 

  5. To make baguettes: Divide dough in half. Roll each to 15 x 10-inch oval. Beginning at long side of each, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Taper ends by gently rolling back and forth. Place, seam sides down, on large greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and refrigerate as directed. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator. Uncover dough carefully. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. With sharp knife, make 4 slashes (1/4 inch deep) in crisscross fashion across top of each loaf. Brush with egg white mixture and bake as directed.