French Bread

Makes: 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 6 cups flour
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar and yeast.  Let the mixture stand until the yeast is dissolved.  Stir in the salt, cooking oil, and half of the flour.  Beat the dough vigorously with a big spoon.  Stir in the remaining flour until all the dry ingredients are completely mixed in.

Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes, and then stir.  Repeat this process until the dough has been stirred down five times.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead slightly, just enough to coat the dough with flour so that it can be handled easily.  Divide the dough into two parts.  Roll each half of the dough into a rectangle, approximately 9″x12″.  Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, rolling from the long side.  It should look like a regular loaf of french bread when you’re finished.  Pinch the edge of the loaf in order to seal the dough.  There should be no visible seam.

Arrange the loaves on a large cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let the bread rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.  With a very sharp knife, cut three gases at an angle on the top.  Brush the top surface of the dough with a slightly beaten egg.

Bake immediately at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from the baking sheets immediately and cool on racks.

Additional Tips:

  • You can sprinkle the bread with sesame or poppy seeds if you’re into that.  Just add the seeds right after you’ve brushed the top of the dough with the egg mixture.
  • Don’t skimp on the rising times!  Bread is a pretty exact science; cutting corners can wreak havoc on the final product.

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Zucchini Bread

Makes: 2 Large Loaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine sugars, oil, and eggs.  Beat until well blended.  Add zucchini and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, sift the flour with salt, soda, cinnamon, and baking powder.  Combine the creamed mixture with the flour mixture, blending well.  Add the nuts if desired.  Pour into 2 greased and lightly floured large loaf pans.

Bake for at least 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Turn out of the pans to cool.

Additional Tips:

  • Definitely use the nuts (Assuming you aren’t allergic, of course)!  The crunch added by the nuts takes this bread to a whole new level of delicious!
  • You can also bake the bread in 4-5 small loaf tins.  These are great for sharing!  Holiday neighbor gifts, anyone?

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