24 Hour French Bread Recipe

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Servings: 1

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast in 2-1/2 c water. Add in 2-1/2 to 3 c flour; stir 1 minute. Batter will have consistency of soft pudding.
  2. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a hot place, free from drafts, overnight or possibly at least 8 hrs. The longer the sponge ferments, the better the flavor will be.
  3. The next day, stir in salt and 1 to 1-1/2 c of remaining flour. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 6 min, or possibly beat 600 vigorous strokes by hand. Stir in sufficient remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Clean and lightly flour bowl. Knead dough 15 to 20 min or possibly till smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.
  5. Place dough in floured bowl. Dust surface lightly with flour; cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in a hot place, free from drafts, till tripled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hrs.
  6. Grease 2 large baking sheets or possibly 4 French-bread pans.
  7. Punch down dough. Knead 2 min. Cover and let rest 10 min.
  8. For oblong loaves, divide dough into 3 or possibly 4 pcs, depending on desired thickness of loaves.
  9. On a lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a smooth log, gently tapering ends. For round loaves, divide dough in half. Shape each half into a smooth ball.
  10. Place shaped dough on prepared baking sheets. Cover with a dry towel. Let rise till doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  11. Adjust oven racks to 2 lowest positions. Place a shallow roasting pan on lowest shelf; pour in 2 c boiling water.
  12. Preheat oven 15 min to 425-degrees.
  13. Slash tops of oblong loaves with 5 diagonal slashes each. Slash tops of each round loaf with 3 horizontal slashes and 3 vertical slashes in a tic-tac-toe design.
  14. Brush loaves with cool water.
  15. Bake 15 min.
  16. Brush loaves with egg-white glaze; bake 10 min longer.
  17. Brush again with egg-white glaze. Remove roasting pan from oven.
  18. Bake loaves 10 to 15 min longer, for a total of 35 to 40 min, or possibly till bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.
  19. Remove from pans; place loaves directly on oven rack.
  20. Bake 5 min longer. Cold on racks.
  21. Makes 2 to 4 loaves.

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