Nothing beats the smell and taste of fresh bread, or at least I don’t think so. One of my favorite memories is coming home from school to the smells of fresh bread waffling through the house. Smothering that warm slice with butter and peanut butter, dripping down the bread as they melt… mmmm Good. I still love bread and have promised my husband that I would make him some French Bread. He grew up eating french bread, they would run to the market and get a loaf or two of fresh bread for their breakfast or lunch.
After many months of promising him that I would make some, I finally did. Although I am not sure if he was so happy when I added whole wheat to the bread. I am trying to get away from using only white flour. For this recipe I used half white and half whole wheat and it was perfect.
I found the recipe in a old cookbook that I had from Better Homes and Garden Homemade Bread Cook Book. This edition was the 11th edition and it was published in 1979.
Whole Wheat French Bread
A wonderful crisp crusty crust with a soft chewy center.
7 to 71/4 cups all purpose flour (I used 6 cups - 3 white and 3 whole wheat)
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shortening (I used coconut oil)
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cup water
1 egg white
In large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and 2 packages yeast.
Heat water, sugar, salt and shortening til warm (115-120 degrees). Stirring to melt the shortening.
Add to dry mixture and beat at low speed with electric mixer using dough hook for 1/2 minute, scraping bowl.
Continue to beat on high for adding the remaining flour until you have a soft dough. Continue to mix until dough is soft and smooth about 8 minutes
Take out of bowl and knead on flour surface till smooth ~ (as I used my dough hooks on my kitchen aide I only kneaded for about a minute).
Shape in ball. Place in a greased bowl and turn once. (grease with small amount of shortening)
Cover and let rise until dough doubles, about 1 1/2 hours.
After dough rises to double the size, punch down and divide into two. Let dough sit 10 minutes.
Roll out dough to 15 X12 inch rectangle. Roll up tight from long sides, seal well and fold ends under.
Place onto greased baking sheet that is sprinkled with corn meal, seam side down.
Gash tops diagonally ever 2.5 inches, 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep.
Beat egg white til foamy, add 1 tbsp of water.
Brush top and sides of bread with egg white (save rest for later).
Cover and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour)
Bake in 375 degree oven until lightly brown about 20 minutes.
Take out of oven and brush with remaining frothy egg white.
Bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove from baking sheet and cool.
This recipe can be made with out a dough hook. If you don't have a dough hook on your mixer, add the remaining flour by hand and knead for 10 -12 minutes until dough is smooth.
I make my bread with my Kitchen Aide and use a dough hook. I still knead the dough for a minute or two to make sure it is right. If you are unsure how to knead or not sure if you have kneaded your dough enough, The Kitchn has some great Bread- Baking Tips. My tip on making good bread is not too use too much flour, error on the side of less flour.