After so many Christmas sweets and cookies, I am absolutely craving warm, hearty foods. So, let's start talking about my favorite food group. Bread. For me and Truckin' Man, Bread is it's own food group. Most days we would both pass up a cookie, if we could have some amazing bread.
Earlier this year, I started trying some recipes with yeast. I was working on learning how to work with yeast and wanted to master it. I still struggle, but have come so far this year. The bread recipe that is our favorite, comes from Joan over at Chocolate, Chocolate and more... I absolutely love her recipes. She even gave me a virtual "helping hand" while I was learning how to make bread. I will be forever grateful to her!
Making this recipe really is as easy as driving to the store, and you don't have to deal with all the crazy holiday shoppers. It even makes 2 loaves ... one his and one hers! I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do!
Crusty French Bread (Source: Chocolate, Chocolate and more....)
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water, divided
1 T. shortening, melted (or olive oil)
1 T. sugar
2 t. salt
4-5 c. all purpose flour
Combine yeast and 1/2 cup warm water in mixing bowl, stir until yeast is dissolved. Add sugar, shortening, remaining water and 2 cup of flour. Mix until blended, using paddle attachment on mixer. Add salt and 2 more cups of flour, mix again until combined. Add remaining flour as needed until a soft dough ball forms.
Remove paddle from mixer, and cover bowl to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Remove dough from bowl onto floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each piece into a rectangle and roll from long side into a log. Tuck ends under and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (I use my stoneware pan) dusted with corn meal. Cover loaves with cloth and let rise again, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 2-3 slits in tops of loaves with a sharp knife. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve warm.
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