Best Ever French Bread
2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
6 1/4 cups flour
1 egg white
2 tablespoons water
In a large bowl, combine shortening, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Pour boiling water over it and mix; cool to lukewarm.
Dissolve yeast in warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add to cooled liquid. Stir in flour all at once. It may look like it's too much, but just continue stirring until it's all mixed.
Cover; allow to stand for ten minutes. Stir again; cover; allow to stand for ten minutes. Repeat for an hour total time.
Divid the dough in half and on a floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle, then roll up like a jelly roll.
Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and dusted with cornmeal. Cut slashes in top. Brush tops with a mixture of the egg white and 2 tablespoons water.
Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with egg white mixture again half-way through if desired.
Can divide in half to make just one loaf.
Wheat: Change white sugar to brown; substitute 2-3 cups wheat flour for some of the white.
Cheese: Add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or any other cheese.
Herb & Onion: Add 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning and 1/4 cup minced dried onions. Experiment with other herbs like dill and rosemary
Cheesy Garlic Bread: Bake bread above and slice in half when cool. Combine 1 cup butter/margarine, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons parsley and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Spread on bread and broil until golden brown.
When we tried our new recipe, Pickled Shrimp, the day before, Wayne mentioned it would be nice to have some french bread to mop up the olive oil. Since I didn't feel like going to the store, I made some. It was a perfect accompaniment to our yummy appetizer.