Fantastic French Bread

INGREDIENTS:
4 Tbps Butter (softened)
2 1/4 Cups Water (warm, ~110ºF)
3 1/2 tsp yeast
7 Cups flour
1 Tbps Salt
2 Tbps Sugar

Preheat oven just enough that it’s a nice warm place for rising.  (Make sure it’s not too hot!)  I like to even put my mixing bowl in the oven for a few minutes to make sure it’s warm, too.  Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add butter.  Add flour, salt, sugar.  Mix with bread hook until dough is removed from the side of the mixing bowl.  Should be not too sticky, not too dry.

Remove dough from bowl and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the bottom of the bowl the dough will rise in.  Roll the dough in the oil until it is sufficiently covered, then cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, and half.  Spread each half out on a floured surface and roll tightly into a long roll, tucking the ends in.  Cut small slices in the top of the loaf, 4 or 5 per loaf, 1/4″ deep or so.  Place on a stone (covered with a dusting of corn meal) and place the shaped bread back in the warm oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  (Do not let it rise too much as this will flatten your bread!)

At the end of the second rise, turn oven to 425ºF and bake for 20-25 minutes (depends on your oven).  Watch carefully.  Bread should sound hollow when you tap on it.  Should be a nice golden brown.  An egg wash can also be applied if a crunchier crust is desired.

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes, then ENJOY!

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Greg

Greg is... a husband, a father, a son, a friend, an artist, a writer, a chef, an enthusiast, an optimist, a philosopher... and most important, more than anything, loved by God.

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