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French Bread

Yield 3 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water ( 105° to 115°)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • 1 egg white, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt

How to Make It

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl; stir well. Add butter and 1 tablespoon salt, stirring until butter melts. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 6 1/2 cups flour to form a stiff dough.

  2. Turn dough out onto a surface sprinkled with remaining flour; knead 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.

  3. Divide dough into thirds; roll each portion into a 13- x 7-inch rectangle. Roll up each rectangle jellyroll fashion, starting at long end. Pinch seams and ends together to seal. Sprinkle 3 heavily- greased baguette pans or baking sheets with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, in baguette pans or on baking sheets.

  4. Cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes, 3/4-inch deep, in top of each loaf. Cover; repeat rising procedure 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Combine egg white and 1 teaspoon salt; mix well. Brush on loaves.

  5. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove bread from pans or baking sheets immediately; cool on wire racks.

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