Added by kye in france | Wed 28 Apr 2010 @ 09:56
4 cups of white flour
2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 mixing bowl
1 small bowl
1 mixing spoon
French bread pan
1 regular loaf pan
Put 1 cup of the water into the small bowl and mix in the yeast. Let it sit until it has \"proofed\". The water should become foamy like beer - that means it has proofed properly.
When it has proofed, pour the yeast water into the mixing bowl and add the remaining water, the salt, and 2 cups of flour
At this point, the bread should be a soft dough. Gradually mix in flour, a handful at a time, until the dough is a ball that does not touch the edges of the mixing bowl.
Dump the dough out onto a floured counter and scrape all the dough out of the bowl.
Start kneading the bread. To knead bread, form it in a mound, sprinkle some flour on it, and press the heels of your hands into the center. Pick up the edges of the bread, tuck them into the center to form a ball, and rotate the dough. Press your heels into the bread again, tuck the dough, flip or rotate, and repeat.
Gradually work flour into the bread. You need to be careful not to add too much flour. When bread dough has the right amount of flour worked into it, it should feel soft and slightly sticky. If it clings to everything, it needs more flour, but it should still be a little sticky.
Once the bread dough has reached the right consistency, knead it about five more minutes. Kneading is important to working the \"gluten\" (a protein in flour) which helps the bread maintain its shape
When you are done kneading the bread, let it rest on the counter while you clean out the mixing bowl. Grease it, put the bread in the bowl, and cover it with a towel
Let it rise in a warm place for one hour. Or you can put a pan of boiling water in the oven and let the bread rise there.
When the bread is done rising, preheat the oven to 425. Put about an inch of water into the loaf pan and put the pan in the oven to create steam while the bread is cooking.
Shape the bread into two long loaves. Grease the French bread pan and place these loaves in the pan. Cover the loaves with a towel and let them rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Take a sharp knife and make several shallow slashes across the surface of each loaf (this helps the bread expand while baking). Beat the egg with a little water and brush the egg over the surface of the loaves. Bake the loaves about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.