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FRENCH BREAD

Ingredients

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon salt

2½ cups warm water (115-120 degrees)

1, ¼ ounce package active dry yeast

7 cups flour

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 egg yolk

Instructions

Mix honey, salt, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer with a spoon until the honey dissolves.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water.  Let stand 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.

Add 5 cups of the flour with mixer on low.  Gradually add another 1 ½ cups of the flour and mix until the dough begins to form a ball.  Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of the flour on the counter and turn the dough onto the counter.

Knead the dough for 8 minutes incorporating the rest of the flour until dough is smooth and elastic.

Drizzle the olive oil in a clean bowl and turn the dough in the bowl to coat.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1½ hours.

Punch dough down and knead briefly, about 2 minutes.  Let rest on the counter for 20-30 minutes.

Shape into 2 loaves and place on a large baking sheet or in a French baguette pan.  Note – this recipe makes 2 large loaves.  You can also make multiple thinner baguettes.  Let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of water with a pastry brush.  Brush loaves with egg wash and, using a very sharp knife, cut several deep slits in the top of each loaf about 2-3 inches apart in a diagonal pattern.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn oven down to 350° and bake and additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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