MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.04
       Title: French Bread
  Categories: Polkadot, Faylen, Breads
       Yield: 1 Servings
   2 1/2 c  Warm water
       2 pk Yeast
       1 tb Salt
       7 c  Unbleached all-purpose
   Measure warm water in a mixing bowl.  Add yeast, stirring with a fork
   until dissolved.  Stir in the salt and 3 cups of the flour.  Beat
   vigorously with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth.
   Gradually add enough flour to make a soft, workable dough. Remove
   dough to a floured board. Knead, adding more flour if necessary,
   10-12 minutes or until smooth and elastic with bubbles underneath the
   skin. Place dough in a large, warm, greased bowl, turning to coat the
   top. It is best to use a bowl with vertical sides rather than one
   that flares out. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel.  Set
   bowl in a protected spot and let dough triple in bulk, about 2 1/2
   hours.  Punch down, knead dough lightly in the bowl, re-cover, and
   allow to double, about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn out on a floured
   surface, knead lightly, and divide in three portions. Cover and let
   rest 15 minutes.  Grease baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with
   cornmeal. Heavy french baking sheets need not be greased.
   Three methods of forming French loaves:
   1. Press one portion of dough into an oval. If dough pulls back,
   cover and let rest a few more minutes. With the side of your hand,
   make an indentation down the center of the oval. Fold dough over and
   pinch sides together. The dough should now begin to have an elongated
   shape. Roll back and forth to a length that will fit your baking
   sheet. Place on prepared pan, seam side down. With the tips of your
   fingers, tuck in sides and ends to smooth out the long, slender
   shape. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and allow to double in
   bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
   2. Roll a portion of dough into a rectangle, 9x16".  Roll tightly,
   jelly roll style from the long side.  pinch side and ends to seal.
   Roll back and forth, smoothing outwards into desired length.  Place
   on prepared baking pan seam side down, tucking in sides and ends with
   fingertips. Cover and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
   3. Round loaf: With your hands, begin rounding a portion of dough
   into a ball. Smooth dough by pulling tightly with one hand across the
   top to underneath the ball. Keep turning in a circle with the other
   hand until you have a round, satiny loaf. Scoop up with dough scraper
   and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled,
   about an hour.
   Two methods of Baking:
   1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. You will need: a razor, cold water,
   soft pastry brush, and an atomizer containing water. Hold razor at a
   flat angle and make 3 long, diagonal slashes 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in
   each loaf.  Make a cross or two straight slashes on round loaves.
   Brush with cold water. Place loaves on middle shelf in hot oven and
   quickly spray water over all to create steam. Set timer for 5
   minutes. Spray again. Repeat spraying 2 more times at 5 minute
   intervals. Bake 10 more minutes. Cool on wire racks.
   2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. You will need: a razor, soft pastry
   brush, and an egg wash. Beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water until frothy.
   Slash loaves as directed in Method Number 1. Bake loaves on middle
   shelf 15 minutes. Remove and brush thoroughly with the egg wash.
   Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes. Cool on wire racks. French
   bread freezes exceptionally well. This works particularly well if you
   have baking tiles. If you do, heat them at 500 degrees for an hour,
   and watch the bread carfully because baking time will be cut.
   (Reduce the oven temp before putting the bread in!)
   Recipe By:Mary’s Bread Basket and Soup Kettle, Mary Gubser
   * The Polka Dot Palace BBS 1-201-822-3627.  Posted by FAYLEN