French Bread

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Title: French Bread
Yield: 12 Servings
Categories: Bread, French


1 Envelope dry yeast
3 c Warm water (105 F to 115 F)
8 c (about) unbleached
-all-purpose flour
1 tb Salt
1 Egg white beaten with 1 Tbs
-water (glaze)

Soak a brick in water overnight, then drain it and put it in the oven with
the bread to create steam. This gives the loaves a firm crust.

Makes 12 small loaves

Soak brick in water overnight.

Sprinkle yeast onto 1/4 cup warm water in bowl of electric meixer fitted
with a dough hook; stir to dissolve. Let stand 5 minutes. Add remaining
water, 4 cups flour and salt and beat until smooth. Beat in remaining flour
1/2 cup at a time until slightly sticky dough forms. Mix until smooth and
elastic, about 8 minutes. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and
knead until smooth and no longer sticky, adding more flour if necessary,
about 3 minutes. (Dough can also be mixed and kneaded by hand.) Grease
large bowl and add dough, turning to coat surface. Cover with damp towel.
Let rise at room temperature 8 hours.

Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, about 2
minutes. Return to greased bowl, turning to coat entire surface. Cover
with damp towel and let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in
volume, about 2 hours.

Grease baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Punchy dough down and
knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide into
12 pieces. Pat each into 4x7-inch rectangle. Roll up jelly roll fashion,
starting at one long side. Pinch seams to seal. Arrange seam side down on
prepared sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Let rise until almost doubled in
volume, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 F. Remove brick from water and place in oven. Make 3
diagonal slashes in loaves. Brush with egg glaze. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce
oven to 350 F and continue baking until loaves sound hollow when tapped on
bottom, about 35 minutes. Cool on racks before serving.

Bon Appetite