My mom first taught me how to make french bread when I was in high school. She had made it one time when a bunch of my friends were over, and it quickly became the most requested after school snack item when they were at our house. It was delicious warm and fresh out of the oven with my mom's homemade strawberry jam. I love that time I was able to spend with my mom in the kitchen during that high school age. She has always been one of my best friends and high school was no exception. I'm so glad she taught me to make this recipe as it is now a family favorite in my own home.
Ever since I graduated and moved away from home, I have had to call my mom and ask her for this recipe. It is no where to be found via the internets and it seriously is the best tasting french bread out there. The other day I was taking dinner to a family in our neighborhood and once again found myself calling my mom for the recipe. I told her that I just needed to get the cookbook. She told me it might be hard as she has tried looking before and doesn't think it's in print anymore. I thanked her for the recipe, once again, and promised not to lose it this time.
To my surprise, two days later a copy of that very cookbook was on my doorstep. I don't know how she swung it, but she was somehow able to find a used copy in perfect condition for dirt cheap. It was seriously the best surprise and I have been tagging pages ever since. I also made us some french bread the other day. My boys loved it!
Fabulous French Bread
from the Jr. League of Salt Lake City's Heritage Cookbook
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons shortening, melted, or vegetable oil
6 cups flour, unsifted
1 egg white
Sesame seeds (optional)
A note from Hil: My mom taught me this recipe using her kitchenaid, I now use mine. I made it without a kitchenaid once in college and it worked, the kitchenaid just makes the process so much smoother. Just be sure to use the kneading paddle during the "mix and rest" portion of the recipe.
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. In large bowl combine 2 cups hot water, sugar, salt, shortening, and half of the flour; beat well. Stir in dissolved yeast. Stir in remaining flour. Mix well. Leaving spoon in batter, allow to rest again for 10 minutes. Stir vigorously. Allow to rest again for 10 minutes. Repeat 3 more times. Turn out dough onto floured board. Knead once or twice until lightly coated with flour. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 9" x 12" rectangle. Starting at long edge, roll loosely as for jelly roll. Seal edge. Place both rolls seam side down, on one large baking sheet. Gash top of each loaf diagonally 3 times with sharp knife. Brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional). Let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes (until golden brown).
Yield: 2 loaves.