French Bread

Second in my series of Thanksgiving recipes that I want to be able to locate in the future, a french bread recipe from a book Chris has by the Frugal Gourmet. This year, we added a ton of sage and other herbs, and used it for stuffing, after drying it out for a couple of days ahead of time, but it’s also a great bread for eating herbless, right out of the oven.

2 envelopes yeast (I used a little more-around 5 teaspoons)
2 1/2 cup water
2 lbs 3 oz AP flour
1 tsp salt mixed in 1 tsp water

Proof yeast in warm water, and then mix the liquid with about 4 cups of flour, and beat for about 10 minutes. Add the salted water, and as much of the remaining flour as needed, and knead for around 5 minutes. Let it rise in a warm location until doubled, 1-1.5 hours. Punch down and knead again, and then let rise again. Shape into loaves (I usually do 2, but 3-4 are recommended). Let the loaves rise. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Slash the loaves as desired before putting them in the oven, and put either 1 cup of water, or a good handful of ice into the tray on the bottom shelf before closing the door. Bake 25 minutes. The steam created should help produce a nice crispy crust on the bread.


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