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French Bread WP Recipe


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     French Bread WP

Category   Desserts - Breads
Sub Category   None

5 cups plus 2 teaspoons bread flour
2 cups cold water
1 1/2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt

Insert the dough hook into an electric mixer and on 1 or low speed, combine 5 cups flour and the water for 4 minutes. Sprinkle the yeast over the dough; turn the speed to 2, and mix about 5 minutes longer. (Dough will pull cleanly away from the bowl.)
Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a clean tea towel, and let rest for 15 minutes. Turn the dough out on a heavily floured surface, lightly knead into a ball, and let rest, covered Punch out the air, cut the dough in half, and shape into two baguettes. Place the loaves on one or two baking trays, sprinkle with flour, cover with the towel, and let rest for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. With a single edge razor blade or a very sharp knife, make a slash down the center of each loaf. Carefully slide the breads onto a baking stone and bake 10 minutes. Spray with water (a spray can or bottle used for misting plants works well) and continue baking until the bread is well browned, about 1 hour and 10 minutes longer. (Baking at 400 degrees F will give you a crustier bread, but you can bake the bread at 425 degrees F for 1 hour, 10 minutes.) Cool on a rack.

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