French Bread

If you’re like me, you have a difficult (if not impossible) time finding good French bread, outside of New Orleans, that isn’t tough or hard. This recipe from the folks at NOPSI (now Entergy) have an excellent recipe for French bread good enough for Cochon de lait po’boys.

French Bread
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon shortening
11/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

Dissolve yeast in water. Add salt, shortening and sugar. Stir in flour. Knead on lightly floured board until smooth. Place in greased bowl; brush lightly with shortening. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Punch down and divide into 2 equal portions Roll each half into an oblong 15 x 10 inches; roll up tightly from the wide side. Seal ends by pinching together. Roll dough back and forth to taper ends. Place shaped loaves, fold down, on greased baking sheets. Sprinkle loaves with cornmeal. Brush with Cornstarch Glaze (see below for recipe). Make 1/4-inch slashes in dough at 2inch intervals. Place large pan of boding water on lower rack of oven. Place bread on rack above and bake in 400-degree F. oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with Cornstarch Glaze; continue baking 20 to 30 minutes or until brown. Yield: 2 loaves.

Cornstarch Glaze: Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon cold water; gradually add 1/2 cup boiling water. Cook until smooth. Cool slightly.

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