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Chad's French Bread

Created by Chuck,

Description

Ahh... handmade, crusty French bread. If there is anything simpler and yet more satisfying, I have no idea what it would be. This version has a really great subtle flavor.
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Ingredients

At a glance
Cuisine
Course/Meal
Cooking Method
Difficulty
Makes
2 loaves
2 packages yeast
2 cups water, hot but not scalding
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
5 1/2 cups flour, King Arthur
1/2 teaspoon salt

Methods/steps

Put hot water in a large bowl. Add butter, salt, sugar and stir to mix well. Add 3 cups of the flour, and mix well. Then keep adding remaining flour a little at a time until it gets mixed in. May use a little more than 5-1/2 cups depending on the humidity and elevation.

 

Toss this dough onto a clean counter, and knead, adding flour if it feels sticky. Keep kneading until the consistency changes, probably about 10 minutes. It's hard to describe the change, but you will know what I mean when it happens.

Put the dough in a well-greased bowl (Crisco or butter) and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Put the dough in warm place to rise for about 1 hour. It should double in volume.

 

Punch the dough down with your fist and knead until the air bubbles come out. Grease your bread pans well, and dust them with a little cornmeal. Cut dough into 2 equal piles, and form them into loaves. Put in bread pans leaving 1-1/2 inches of open space at the ends. Using a sharp knife, make 2-3 angular slits across the top surface. Put back in a warm place and let rise another hour. 25 minutes before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 350. When the hour is up, bake the loaves at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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