French Bread


2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 tablespoon egg white, beaten with 1 cold water (optional)


Mix flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in water. Stir thoroughly (by hand or in a mixer) until dough is soft and elastic, about 12 minutes on low speed. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down dough.
Divide dough in half on a floured board and shape into 2 equal rectangles. Form each into a baguette by rolling dough away from you. Continue rolling, pressing outward, until you have a long, thin loaf with slightly tapered ends. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet; loaves will double in size, so make sure there is adequate space between them. Cover the loaves with a floured, clean cloth and let rise until doubled. Score the tops of the loaves.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. At the bottom of the oven, place a baking pan filled with 1 cup hot water; this will create steam. Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes or until loaf is brown and sounds hollow when tapped. 5 minutes before the loaf is done, brush with the egg white mixture.




From The Joy of Cooking.


2 loaves


Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 3:54pm


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