Some of my earliest memories of my childhood are of making bread with my dad. Kneading the dough until it was perfectly elastic and no longer sticky but of course not dry. Something I believe that only human hands can feel and that a bread machine would just butcher. So for the sake of the recipe please please please use your hands as much as possible. It’s not only going to make it taste better but it is also incredibly therapeutic.
I’m not going to lie you do need to have some time on your hands to crank out this recipe because of the double rising times but it’s perfect for when you feel like being productive for only an hour and a half at a time and the end result is so so so so so worth it! The last time I made this bread Lauren and I decided that our in between project would be cutting my hair. I’m pleased to say that both my hair and the bread turned out fabulous!
So here it is
2.5 c warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Butter
2 packages yeast
7.5 cups all purpose flour
1. Mix together water sugar salt and butter (the water should be warm enough to melt the butter.)
2. Mix 3 cups of flour and the yeast in a bowl
3. Add warm water mixture to yeast mixture and gradually add 4-4.5 cups more flour.
4. Knead for 10-15 minutes or until elastic-y (like I said before this is hard to get just right and will take practice but the dough should feel moist in your hands but not sticky.
5. Place dough in a warm greased bowl cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place (I like to put it in the oven with a pan of boiling water underneath it) and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
6. PUNCH IT DOWN! (this is my favorite part!)
7. Form two balls and let the dough rest for 10 minutes meanwhile grease a cookie sheet or a bagette pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Form into two loaves and place on sheet or baggette pan.
8. Slash the tops diagonally with a sharp knife. Brush top with egg wash (1 egg 1 Tbsp water beaten together)
9. Place four glasses around the cookie sheet each at a corner and drape a hand towel over the top of the bread so that it covers the loaves but does not touch them. Let rise for another hour and a half.
10. Preheat oven to 375 and place and empty shallow pan on the bottom rack while the over preheats. just before putting the bread in pour water into the pan to create steam then quickly put the bread in (this will make crust to die for!) After about 20 minutes in the oven brush with egg wash again and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot with lots and lots of butter!
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