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New Orleans French Bread

Throughout Louisiana, loaves of French Bread are served with all meals. Delicious with butter or to scoop up every last bite of gumbo, red beans and rice, or gravy.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 cups warm water (about 110ºF.)
  • 5 - 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 T. cornmeal

egg wash: one egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and water. Whisk with a fork until the yeast is dissolved.

  2. Gradually add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. With the dough hook, knead for about 3 minutes.

  3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Turn the dough to oil all sides. Cover with a clean dish towel; put in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

  4. Invert the dough onto a lightly floured silicone baking mat. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion into a 8" X 13" rectangle. Roll each rectangle up from the long side, seal, and shape ends.

  5. Sprinkle a jelly roll pan lined with a silicone baking mat with cornmeal. Place the loaves on the prepared silicone baking mat, about 3" apart. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

  6. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. This will take about 30 minutes so begin while the french loaves are rising.

  7. With a sharp knife make several diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf. With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash evenly over the loaves.

  8. Place a cup of hot water in an ovenproof container on the baking sheet with the loaves. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. A properly baked loaf should register a temperature between 195º and 205º. Remove from the oven and cool on wire rack.

  9. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

  10. If you have any leftovers, it is delicious toasted or made into French Toast.