French Bread

Course : Cajun
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1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup water -- warm(105-115f.)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine -- softened
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water -- hot
4 cups flour -- all-purpose, sifted
1 Cup cornmeal or farina
1 large egg white -- lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water

Preparation / Directions:

1. Soften yeast in warm water; let stand 5 minutes. 2. Meanwhile combine butter, sugar and salt in large bowl; pour hot water over mixture. 3. Cool to lukewarm; stir, then blend in 1/2 cup of the flour, beating until smooth. 4. Stir yeast; add to flour mixture, blending in thoroughly. 5. Add about half the remaining flour and beat until very smooth. 6. Mix in remaining flour to make a soft dough. 7. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; let rest 5 to 10 minutes. 8. Lightly grease deep bowl large enough to allow dough to double. 9. Knead dough; shape into smooth ball and put in greased bowl; turning to bring greased surface to top. 10. Cover with waxed paper or towel; let stand in warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. 11. Punch down; pull edges to center, then turn dough completely over. 12. Cover; let rise again until almost doubled (about 45 minutes). 13. Meanwhile, grease baking sheet lightly; sprinkle evenly with cornmeal. 14. Punch down dough; turn out onto lightly floured surface. 15. Roll out to 14x8-inch rectangle; roll up rectangle tightly into a long slender loaf and pinch ends to seal. 16. Place loaf diagonally on prepared baking sheet. 17. With sharp knife, make diagonal slashes at 2-inch intervals. 18. Brush top with part of egg white mixture; cover loosely and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk. 19. Brush loaf again with remaining egg wash; bake in preheated 425F oven 10 minutes. 20. Brush again with egg wash; reduce temperature to 375F. and bake 20 minutes longer, or until golden brown. NOTE: To increase crustiness, place flat pan filled with boiling water in bottom of oven.

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