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Classic Crusty French Bread

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Ingredients
  Dry granular yeast/1 cake compressed yeast 1 Tablespoon (1 Package)
  Lukewarm water 1 Cup (16 tbs)
  Sugar 2 Teaspoon
  Salt 1 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Shortening 1 Tablespoon
  All purpose flour 4 Cup (64 tbs), sifted
  Egg white 1 , beaten
Directions

Soften yeast in 1/4 cup of the water.
Let stand 10 minutes.
To the remaining water add sugar, salt, shortening and 1 cup of the flour.
Beat until very smooth.
Add the yeast mixture and stir well.
Thoroughly fold in egg white, then add flour to make a stiff dough.
Turn out on lightly floured board and knead until smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turn once to bring greased side up.
Cover and let stand in a warm place (85° F.) out of draft to rise until double in bulk (about 1 hour), knead down.
If a Vienna or French loaf is to be made, cover and let rest 10 minutes; then form into a narrow rounded loaf about 14 inches long.
Place on greased baking sheet on which white cornmeal or farina has been sprinkled.
Make diagonal cuts with a very sharp knife every 2 inches about 1/8s inch deep.
If hard crusted rolls are to be made, divide kneaded dough into 18 portions.
Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
Form into rolls (Vienna Style) and place them 2 1/2 inches apart on baking sheet treated as above.
Brush rolls or loaf with a mixture of one slightly beaten egg white and 1 tablespoon water.
Cover pans with damp cloth and let rise until double in size.
Bake rolls in a moderately hot oven (375° F.) for 35 to 45 minutes.
Bake loaf in a moderate oven (350° F.) for 1 hour.
Place shallow pan of boiling water on floor of oven to produce crustiness on loaf or rolls.
After 10 minutes in oven, brush again with egg white mixture.
After 20 minutes baking, brush again with egg white mixture.

Recipe Summary

Cuisine: 
French
Course: 
Side Dish
Method: 
Baked

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