Sep 6, 2008

Fabulous Frenchbread

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 cups water
6 cups bread flour (I just use white flour)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I've never used these)


1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with 2 cups water, 3 cups flour, salt, sugar and vegetable oil; stir well to combine*. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

3. Divide dough half. Roll each half into a 9 x 12 rectangle and roll up jelly roll style, starting at long edge. Seal edges and place seam side down on a large baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.

4. Use a sharp knife to slash each loaf diagonally 3 times. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover and allow to rise 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

5. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

*I just mix it all in my Kitchenaid -including the kneading time- for about 7 minutes on the #2 setting, then put it in a greased bowl, covered with a damp towel in the warm oven. Other than that, I follow all of the directions and it turns out perfect every time!

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