Friday, February 27, 2009

Grandma's French Bread

2 T. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. very hot water
1 T. salt
2 T. sugar
2 T. shortening
6 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water.

In a large bowl, combine hot water, salt, sugar, and shortening and stir. Add 2 c. flour and stir well. Add proofed yeast and stir. Add 4 c. flour and stir well. It should form sort of a "shaggy" dough:

Set the timer for 10 minutes and then stir down the dough. (I took this to mean sort of punching down the dough with your spoon.) Repeat 4 more times (5 times total).

Grandma recommends putting out 5 objects and taking one away after each stir-down, so you don't forget how many times you've done it. I used magnets. Of course, you have to take one away each time or this strategy is useless!

After the 5th time, turn the dough out on a well-floured board and cut in 2 equal portions.

Roll each half into an elongated rectangle. Place both halves, side by side, on a large cookie sheet covered in cornmeal. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slash each loaf 3 times with a sharp knife and brush on an egg/water glaze, if desired. (You may also sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or salt crystals on top of loaves at this point.)

Bake 30-35 minutes and cool on a wire rack.


jt said...

I can't believe I haven't made this bread before now! It was the easiest bread I've ever made, and awesome to boot! Yay Grandma!

rachel said...

Could you do this with whole wheat flour?

Molly said...

Jess made this for me over the weekend. It was delicious -- as all of your grandmother's recipes seem to be. Going to give it a spin in my own kitchen tonight. Thank you for such a great blog!

Melissa said...

My mom uses M&M's or chocolate chips for her countdown objects ;)