French Bread

French Bread

Ingredients
Serves: 30 

  • 6 cups )750g) plain flour
  • 2 1/2 (8g) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups warm water 45 degrees C (110 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions
Prep:35min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Extra time:1hr30min proofing  ›  Ready in:2hr45min 

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups (250g) flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups (500ml) warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
  4. Grease a large baking tray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about .5cm deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 190 degrees C (375 degrees F ) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking tray, and cool on a wire rack.
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