Introduction: Fabulous French Bread in Under 2 Hours!

A friend of mine showed me this recipe and since then I've made it countless times. It's amazing! I broke it down into several steps but don't let that scare you from trying it- the steps are easy! The result is both gorgeous and delicious- a winning combination in my book! 

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Step 1: Ingredients

Yield: 2 loaves
  • 1 TBSP shortening
  • 1 TBSP coarse salt {or 1/2 TBSP regular salt}
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 TBSP yeast
  • 5 - 6 cups white all purpose flour {I used bread flour}
  • 2 rounded TBSP dough enhancer {my addition}
  • 1 egg
I used a KitchenAid mixer to make my bread. It's certainly not necessary but it does help with the whole trying to go fast and save time thing. 

Step 1: Place the 1 cup hot water in the microwave for 3 minutes to get it boiling.

Step 2: Dissolve the yeast into the warm water. Stir it around until it is all mixed.

Step 3: Combine the salt, shortening, and sugar in the bottom of your mixer with a fork. The dough hook doesn't work very well. You need to smash up the mixture until it resembles the picture above. {I used my whisk attachment on high. It took about a minute and was perfect.}

Step 4: Pour the boiling water over the shortening mixture. Mix slightly to combine.

Step 5: Pour the cold water in next.

Step 6: Then pour the warm water and yeast into the mixer.

Step 7: Begin to add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of your mixer. Add the dough enhancer at this time, along with the flour. The dough should be balmy but not sticky.

Step 8:  Let the dough mix on high for 8 minutes.

Step 2:

Step 9: Let the dough rise in the mixer for about 20 minutes. {This step can actually be skipped if you are in a hurry, but I recommend it as it allows the dough the chance to rest and improves the flavor and texture.}

Step 10: Separate the dough into three parts and place on a large jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray. Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes. Letting it sit will make it MUCH easier to shape.

Step 11: Spread the dough out with your hands. Stretch it slightly until you have an oval about 1" in thickness. Roll the dough up into a log shape. Take the ends of the log and fold them into the middle, with the ends touching. Turn the loaf seam-side down onto a greased pan. I used my french bread pans, but you could also use a jelly roll pan. Repeat with remaining dough.

Step 12: Using a sharp knife, quickly cut 3 diagonal slits into the top of each loaf.

Step 3:

Step 13: Whisk egg until frothy. Cover loaves with egg wash, making sure to get in each slit.

Step 14: Place the loaves in a warm 170 degree oven and let rise for about 15 minutes.

Step 15: Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and re-set your timer for 15 minutes. {Leave the loaves in while the oven increases in temperature.}

Step 16:  Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and turn the pan around in the oven. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the loaves are a nice golden brown.

Grab a stick of butter and ENJOY. 
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