Prep 2 hrs
Cook 25 mins
This is THE BEST recipe for French bread that I have EVER found! The ranch flavor adds some zip, and the texture is golden, soft and delicious. It does take some time, but it is well worth the effort. You may be able to speed it up a little by using quick rising yeast, although I've never tried it that way. I got the recipe from a Taste of Home cookbook, but the one posted here is slightly different than the original. One word of caution: don't get the water too hot or you could "kill" the yeast, and then the bread won't rise.
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
- 1⁄2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 cups warm buttermilk (110 to 115 degrees)
- 1⁄2 cup butter or 1⁄2 cup margarine, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 (1 ounce) envelopeoriginal ranch dressing mix or 4 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 8 -9 cups all-purpose flour
- In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; then add 1 teaspoon sugar; let stand for five minutes.
- Add the buttermilk, butter (or margarine), eggs, ranch dressing mix (or salad dressing), salt, 4 cups flour and remaining sugar; mix well until smooth.
- Stir in 4 or 5 more cups of flour until you have a soft dough.
- Knead the bread dough on a floured surface for about 6 or 7 minutes, then put it in a greased bowl, cover& let rise for about an hour; until doubled in size.
- On a floured surface, punch dough and divide into 4 equal sections.
- Shape each into a long"log" about 12 inches long but not too wide and flat, then slash the top of each loaf with a knife.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about 30 minutes.
- Bake in a 350 oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown; but do not bake more than 2 loaves at a time.
This is a recipe that my family really enjoys. I've made it several times (originally in TOH)--worth the effort. I prefer to add two envelopes of the Ranch Dressing mix---boosts the flavor. This is also a great recipe because you have a loaf to serve with dinner, one for the next day, and two to freeze.