I love homemade bread, growing up my Dad would make yeast rolls for special occasions, other then that we had store bought bread.
About four years ago I made yeast bread for the first time. I found not only do I love homemade bread, I really enjoy making my own bread. Now we very seldom buy bread. I make most of our breads like hot dog rolls, hamburger rolls, white sandwich bread, finger rolls and more.
Today I want to share the French bread recipe I use. You can use this bread many ways. You can eat it hot out of the oven, you can cut it to toast or put it into soup and melt cheese on top, you can cut it length wise and use it for a sub sandwich. If it should last long enough to get stale you can cut it up toast it in the oven and make croutons.
I just made some French bread for different uses over the Christmas Holiday. We will be putting it in French onion soup, we will use it with a cheese plate, both on Christmas Eve.
3-3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 decrees)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon cold water
poppy seed or sesame seed
Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water and oil. Mix with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Stir in enough flour 1/2 cup at a time to make dough easy to handle (dough will be soft). Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place dough into a greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Rise time is longer then time for traditional breads, which gives the typical French bread texture.
Grease large cookie sheet with shortening; sprinkle with cornmeal.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each into 15×8 inch, on lightly floured surface. Roll up tightly, beginning at 15-inchside, to form a loaf. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Roll gently back and forth to tapers ends. Place both loaves on cookie sheet.
Cut 1/4 inch deep slashes across loaves at 2 inch intervals with sharp knife. Brush loaves with cold water. Let rise uncovered in warm place about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix egg white and 1 tablespoon cold water; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seed. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
©1996 by General Mills, Inc.