New Orleans French Bread
|2 cups warm bottled water (110 degrees) do not use tap water|
|2 tbs sugar|
|2 tbs packaged yeast|
|2 tbs vegetable shortening|
|6 and 1/2 cups bread flour|
|1 tbs kosher salt|
This bread is the classic bread that is used for Po-Boys in New Orleans. It stays fresh for only one day. It freezes well, but is better fresh. It has very little or no fat or sugar and no preservatives. You will find the it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect!
- Place 2 cups water in the bowl of a stationary mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Add 1 tbs sugar and sprinkle with the yeast.
- Allow to sit for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling.
- Add the remaining 1 tbs sugar, the shortening and 5 cups of flour.
- Mix until a dough starts to form.
- Add the salt and the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue to knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand for a minute or two, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Return to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm draft free place to rise for 1 and 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down, then divide into 4 equal sized balls. Cover with a clean dish towel and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Form each ball into a 16 by 3 inch loaf.
- Place the loaves on baking sheet, cover them with a damp cloth and set aside to rise for 1 and 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Gently place the fully risen loaves in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown, then cool on racks before using.