Want to impress someone you love? Show up anywhere with a freshly baked loaf of crusty French bread. Heaven with garlic butter, delightful on a picnic with fruit and cheese, divine with strawberry jam.
This is my favorite bread recipe, because it looks very complicated but only requires five basic ingredients. Best of all...no Bosch, KitchenAid, bread machine is necessary. Stir it up in the morning, check on the rising dough a couple times during the day, roll it up and pop it in the oven. Enjoy tonight!
Here's what to do...
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon yeast into 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Let stand for a few minutes; stir until yeast is dissolved.
Measure 1 tablespoon shortening, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 tablespoon salt into large bowl.
Pour one cup boiling water over this. Then add 3/4 cup cold water and cool to lukewarm. Add dissolved yeast.
Turn out on a floured surface and knead by hand for a few minutes until dough becomes smooth and satiny. Add more flour if necessary.
Place seam side down on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double. (1 hour)
Brush with water for crispy crust. (For softer crust use egg white beaten with water.) With a sharp knife, make three slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 45 minutes--until lightly browned. Bread will sound hollow when tapped. (It is ok if the loaf does not look perfect...you WANT it to look homemade!)
Slice and slather with topping of your choice.