Friday, December 23, 2011

Mr. Stumphy's French Bread Recipe

2 cups warm water
1 pkg yeast (2 1/2 scant teaspoonsful)
1 Tbs. sugar
5 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt

Sprinkle yeast over warm (think hot but not boiling) water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle sugar on top. Let yeast dissolve and grow for at least 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of flour and salt. Stir. Add more flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until dough is too stiff and then kneading. Knead dough on floured surface for 15 minutes. (I am lazy and do it in the large bowl.) Let raise in greased bowl until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

Punch down (literally punch the dough and give a few brief kneading strokes). Divide the dough in halves, shaping each half into a ball. Let dough rest 5 minutes. Roll each ball with hands to form a long slender baguette loaf roughly 3" in diameter (the ends will be smaller). With sharp knife cut diagonal slashes 1 1/2 " apart. Cover with a clean cloth. Raise 1 hour or until double in bulk. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes. Brush tops with egg white. Return to oven for 2 minutes.

Makes 2 small loaves. We have successfully used half white/half whole wheat flour in this recipe.

Mr. Stumphy was the French teacher at Provo High School when Vilo and Sheila were students there. He was colorful and opinionated and very good at teaching French culture as well as the language. Vilo has been making these baguettes ever since getting this recipe in his class.

Yeast dough tip: Elisabeth and James learned in Home Economics at Hastings Middle School this most useful tip. If you cannot be at home when the dough will be ready, cover the dough and put it in the fridge before it rises and then take it out and let it rise at your convenience.

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