New Orleans French Bread
- 2 cups warm (110 degrees F) water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons dry granulated yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 6 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Place the 2 cups water in the bowl of a stationary mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and sprinkle with the yeast. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, the shortening and 5 cups of flour. Mix until a dough starts to form.
- Add the salt and the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue to knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand for a minute or two, until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Return it to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free corner to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down, then divide it into four balls. Cover these with a clean dish towel and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Form each ball into a 16 x 3 inch loaf. Place the loaves on baking sheets, cover them with a damp cloth and set aside to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Gently place the fully risen loaves in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool on racks.
Yield: 4 loaves
Lee Bailey's New Orleans by Lee Bailey with Ella Brennan. - credited to G. H. Leidenheimer Baking Company