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James Beard’s French-Style Bread

James Beard’s French-Style Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°, approximately)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 egg, mixed with water
  • sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal

Directions

Combine the yeast with sugar and warm water in a large bowl and allow to proof. Mix the salt with the flour and add to the yeast mixture, a cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. Remove to a lightly floured board and knead until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Turn out on a floured board and shape into a long, French bread-style loaf. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal but not buttered. Brush loaf with egg wash and then liberally sprinkle with sesame seeds. Slash the tops of the loaf diagonally in three or four places. Place in a cold oven, set the temperature at 400° and bake 35 minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when the top is rapped.

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