Cooking Class French Bread
By Carol Ritchie
Makes 2 loaves, serves 8 to 10 people
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/4 ounce package active dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
3 cups all purpose flour, divided iss
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to proof the yeast (should smell fermented).
Stir in 2 cups of the flour, salt and butter for 30 seconds, until dough is moistened and slightly stringy in texture. Gradually add some of the remaining flour until the dough starts to pull from the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface. Turn dough out onto surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes, adding flour as needed, until dough is smooth and elastic ( you may not use all of the flour).
Place dough back into the bowl, flour lightly and turn dough to help resist sticking. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down, and divide into two pieces.
Shape each piece into two round loaves. Score tops of each loaf with a serrated knife.
Sprinkle a little flour on top of loaves. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Remove towel.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped or register 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Cool 15 minutes before slicing.