Wednesday, November 4, 2009

French Bread

My mom is, hands down, the best bread maker I know. I was lucky enough to grow up on the best homemade rolls, breads, scones, sweet rolls...

For years I was intimidated by dough and breads and rolls. Thankfully my mom has shared her recipes with me, and I have been able to master them. [Maybe not quite to her level, but I'll keep trying!]

French bread, or any white bread is not the norm in my house. My kids call it "french toast bread", mostly because I only buy it/make it when we make french toast. [And only then because my husband says that whole grain wheat bread doesn't taste good in french toast!] So, when I make a loaf [or 2!] of this, it's always a big deal.

This recipe makes 2 big loaves of bread, or 24 rolls. [Or, 1 loaf of bread and 12 rolls.] The bread freezes great, and so does the dough! You can easily bake half of the dough and freeze the rest to use later.

We used this bread for fondue, and later for french toast. It's also a great basic bread.

French Bread
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 c. hot water
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1/3 c. shortening [or some type of fat]
  • Flour
  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. [Pour yeast into water, stir it up and let it sit while you do everything else.] Combine hot water, sugar, salt, and shortening in mixing bowl. Let stand until lukewarm. [Shortening/fat will met, that's what you want!]
  2. Add yeast and 3 cups of flour to mixture. Beat until smooth. Add 3 cups more flour. Beat until stiff dough. [If it is sticky add more flour gradually.]
  3. Remove bowl from mixer, and stir dough with a long spoon. Leave spoon in batter; rest 10 minutes. Stir again; rest 10 minutes. Continue until stirring down has been repeated 5 times. [During the rest times, I cover the bowl with a towel.]
  4. Turn dough out of bowl onto floured surface, and divide into 2 parts. Bread: Shape into loaves and slash diagonally. Rolls: Divide each 1/2 into 12 rolls. Place on a greased cookie sheet, cover and let rise 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees. [Rolls: 15 minutes. Bread: 35 minutes.]

*If you want to freeze the dough, spray a gallon sized ziploc storage bag with non-stick spray, place dough in, and freeze. You'll want a bag big enough to allow the dough to expand, otherwise it will explode everywhere! When you are ready to use, defrost in the fridge and use like normal!

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