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French Bread

Just like the Leidenheimer French Bread you love from New Orleans

  1. Put the warm water in the bowl of your mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Add 1/2 tbsp sugar and the yeast and stir a bit then cover with plastic wrap, let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp sugar, shortening and 2 1/2 cups of bread flour. Mix until the dough starts to form then add the salt and the remaining flour.
  4. Knead on the dough hook for 15 minutes (#2 speed on a stand mixer).
  5. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic for 2 minutes.
  6. Form into a ball and put back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft free place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until dough has doubled.
  7. Punch down the dough and split in 1/2. Cover with a clean cloth and let the rest 15 minutes.
  8. Form balls into rolls about 16" long. Place on baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Place in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 375°F with an empty sheet pan on the bottom rack.
  10. Gently place the loaves in the oven and add 2 tbl water to the empty sheet pan.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown. Cool on racks.

Serve fresh.

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