For the first time EVER, I made bread last night.. from SCRATCH, without a bread maker. The recipe is my mother in law's and I snatched it from our cousin in law who has it on her website - only mine will be for amateurs like myself who have never made bread from scratch.
French Bread Recipe (makes two loaves)
2 T yeast
1/2 cup of warm water
2 cups of hot water
cinch of sugar
3 T of sugar
1 t salt
1/3 shortening (melted)
6 cups of flour
1 egg white
Yeasts of Fun: Put 1/2 cup of warm water in a bowl, sprinkle 2 T of dry active yeast (Costco kind is the best!) and a pinch of sugar - I'm not sure what pinch is so I just did about 1 t. Set aside and let the yeast do its thang (about 5 minutes)
Meanwhile, melt 1/1 cup of shortening and in a separate bowl, mix the following:
2 cups hot water
3 T sugar
1 t salt
1/3 cup of melted shortening
Mixing: Add the above mixture to the yeast that has been sitting for at least 5 minutes or until it's yeasty beasty. Next, add 3 cups of flour and mix mix mix with a mixer. Then, add 3 more cups and this time, mix with a spoon. A big wooden one is what I used. Now after you've mixed it... you let it sit for 10 minutes... come back and mix it... let is rest for 10 minutes.. come back and mix it... and so on and so forth - for a total of 5 times. I'm not sure if my yeast sat too long because I had to knead it since my mixture was huge and doughy - but apparently, you are supposed to just use the spoon. My wooden spoon failed and I had to resort to using my hands.
Once done, divide the dough into half - and here comes the fun sculpting part.
THAT'S DOUGH FUN: You roll out your dough on a floured board/table, and then you roll it up like into a cylinder... once you can't roll it anymore, you pinch the top so that it stays together in your cylinder form and pinch the sides so it comes in. You then pam your cookie sheet, put the formed dough cylinder with the cinched part on the bottom, and brush the sides and tops with the egg white (makes it crustier). Repeat with other roll.... let the two loaves sit and rise for 60 minutes, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and go do something else.
When ready, bake for about 20 minutes and POOF - you have just made your first set of bread loaves from scratch like moi!