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French Bread Class

Mix yeast, water, sugar Activated yeast Add basic ingredients
Mix the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 cup of hot tap water (about 100 degrees) and set aside. Within about 3 minutes the yeast will be activated and will fill the cup. Use a container for yeast activation that will hold about 2 cups total. Now add the yeast to the basic bread ingredients (water or milk, sugar, shortening, etc.).

Add flour Ready to work dough Kneed dough
Continue to add flour, one cup at a time, until the dough balls on the dough hook. If the dough pools in the bottom of the mixer when stopped then more flour is required. The dough will be ready to work if you can lightly touch it with a dry finger tip and the dough does not stick to your finger. If you are making your bread without a mixer refer to "Bread Making 101" for instructions on kneeding the dough by hand. Kneed dough for about 1 minute and form into a ball.

Doubled bread dough Prepare bread pans Weigh out 24 ounces
Place the dough ball in a large bowl that has been brushed with melted butter. Cover with a towel and let rise until dough has doubled in size. It should take between 1 and 2 hours depending on temperature and humidity. Prepare your bread pans. Use parchment baking paper if available, if not spray pans with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. For french loaves, weigh out 24 ounces of dough.

Form french loaf Brush with egg wash Slice french loaf
Take a 24 ounce dough piece and gently roll it into a french loaf about 18 inches in length. Place the dough in a french bread pan if available. If you don't have a french bread pan, just form the loaf and place it on a prepared baking sheet. Prepare an egg wash by mixing 1 egg with 3 tablespoons of water. Brush the tops of the french loaves with the egg wash. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, and then place in a 375 degree oven and bake until golden brown (about 40 minutes). Be sure to check the bottom of the bread before removing from oven to make sure it is good and brown. The egg wash tends to make the bread appear more done than it is. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks and cool completely before slicing.

Weigh 3 ounces of dough Roll bread sticks Rolled bread stick
To make bread sticks from our french dough, we start by weighing out 3 ounce pieces of dough. Take a 3 ounce piece and gently roll the dough into a stick about 8 to 10 inches in length.

Place bread sticks on baking sheet Add seasonings Baked bread sticks
Place the rolled bread sticks on a prepared baking sheet. Brush them with the prepared egg wash. If desired sprinkle the tops of the bread sticks with a mixture of garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Let the bread sticks rise until dough has doubled in size. Place in a 375 degree oven and bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

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