French Bread
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° F to 115° F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups sifted flour, divided
  • No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 egg white, beaten until frothy
  1. Pour warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved. Blend in sugar,salt, and melted shortening. Add 3 cups flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  2. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.
  3. Spray a large bowl with no-stick cooking spray; place dough in prepared bowl and turn to grease top of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
  4. Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured surface to form a 15-x8-inch rectangle. Roll up tightly as for a jelly roll. Place loaves seam-side-down on a large greased cookie sheet; fold ends under.
  5. With a sharp knife, slash dough diagonally down length of loaf at 1-inch intervals. Brush with beaten egg white. Let rise uncovered 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  7. Place a large shallow pan on lower oven rack and fill with boiling water. Place bread on center rack.
  8. Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks.
  9. Variation: Try this recipe using 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat flour.