French-Style Bread

French-Style Bread (from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll)

(Source: Beard on Bread cookbook)


Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup warm water (100 to 115 degrees F., approximately)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour*

1 1/2 tablespoons corn meal (optional: see below)

1 tablespoon egg white, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water (optional: see below)


Directions:

1. Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Allow the yeast to "bloom". (Wait about 3-5 minutes for the yeast to begin bubbling.)


2. Add in the 2 1/2 cups flour and the salt. Stir well and turn out onto a floured surface. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as needed. Knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth ball.


3. Place the bread in a well greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow the bread to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Until the dough is doubled in size.)


4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and roll the dough into a french-style loaf. Place the loaf on a parchment lined sheet pan or a pan that has been lightly dusted with corn meal.


5. Slash the top of the loaf in about 3 or 4 places and brush with the egg wash. (I skipped this step. The egg wash will give you a darker, shinier crust.)


6. Place the pan in a cold oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hallow when you tap on it.


*I have also successfully made this recipe with half whole wheat flour and half white flour. Add in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bread dough to help with tenderness if using whole wheat flour.


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