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French Bread

This recipe was taught in November 2011 for a Bread Baking Workshop led by Chef Nick Peters.

Yield: 2 large loaves

Variations: garlic bread, rolls, bread sticks (1.5 oz each), bread bowls (6-7 oz each)


3 cups water

1 ½ TBSP yeast (1/2 oz)

1 tsp Sugar

2 ½ pounds bread flour

1 TBSP salt

- Warm the water to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in it and add the sugar.

- Mix in 1 cup of flour and the salt, work until smooth. Add the rest of the flour gradually, mixing well by hand.

- When the flour has been added, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes.

- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise in a war place for 1 & ½ to 2 hours.

- Punch the dough down and knock the air from it. Repeat the rising process.

- When the dough has doubled for the second time, knock it down again and divide into quarters.

- Form each piece of dough into long loaves and roll them into baguettes (see variations notes). Place them on baking sheets lined with cornmeal and leave to rise again for 20-30 minutes.

- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

- When the loaves have doubled in size, brush them with an egg wash made from whole egg or egg white. Slash them with a sharp knife. Bake for 20-25 minutes**, until golden and hollow sounding when tapped. If possible, turn the oven off and leave the loaves to cool down in it completely. This will ensure a thick, crisp crust.

**Key techniques:

Put 1/3 (bread) pan of water in oven with cooking bread for a better crust

Splash water in over for steam when first putting bread in to seal crust

Appropriate oils for bread pans, etc is Pam or Olive Oil

Tuck ends to make a baguette

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