French Bread Recipe

By David J. Stewart

This is an authentic tasting French bread that is easy to make.  The following recipe makes 2 long loaves of French bread.  If you have a smaller oven, or just want to make one loaf, then only use HALF of the ingredients.

Recipe Ingredients:

In a large bowl, combine warm water with yeast, stir, and allow to sit for a few minutes.  Add salt and stir.  Stir in flour one cup at a time until thick enough to work by hand.  On a lightly floured surface, knead dough to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  Knead for about 5 minutes.  Knead by pressing on the dough, then folding over and pressing with the heel of your hand.  Shape into a ball.  Place dough into greased bowl, also grease top of dough, and cover.  Let rise in a warn place until doubled.

Punch dough down and divide into half.  Roll each half into a large rectangle.  Fold dough over, lengthwise, to form loaves.  Place dough, with seam facing down, onto greased baking tray sprinkled with cornmeal.  Moisten ends of bread loaf with water and seal.  Taper ends.  Lightly whip the 2 egg whites with 2 Tablespoons of water and brush onto loaves.  This will give the bread a golden glazed brown texture while cooking.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow bread to rise for an additional 30-45 minutes.  The process of allowing the dough to rise gives it a more delicious flavor and a better bread texture when done.

With a sharp knife, make 4 or 5 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across the top of each loaf.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes.  Brush again with egg white mixture.  Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning.