Easy French or Italian Bread

"this recipe is so simple and you can shape the bread however you like. i use whole wheat flour for half sometimes and all purpose or bread flour for the rest."
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Ready In:
3hrs 35mins




  • proof yeast with sugar in water until foamy.
  • combine water with 4 cups flour, mix and let sit 15 minutes.
  • in a mixer with a dough hook add in flour by the cup until it reaches a smooth consistency and forms a ball that pulls away from the bowl, should be about 3 more cups (7 total).
  • knead by hand or in mixer until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 in a mixer.
  • rise until double, about an hour. punch down, rise another hour.
  • divide into pieces and form loaves (either 3 italian shape or about 5 long french loaves).
  • rise one last time, 30-45 minutes, slash tops with a sharp knife and bake at 400 for about 30 minutes until the loaves sound hollow.

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I live in MI with my family and am always on the lookout for new tasty recipes that even my toddler will like. He loves meat and pasta, most fruit and is getting better about veggies. I cook every meal 7 days a week, with the occasional lunch or dinner out (very occasional!) but I love cooking so it's not a bad thing to me. I am a big sweets eater and recently got an ice cream maker so I have been whipping up lots of ice cream. My favorite so far has been Ben and Jerry's heath bar crunch, it's so creamy and only lasts 2 days in this house! Other baked goods and homemade bread are favorites too, though not much bread gets baked in the summer. I hate doing dishes! We are currently house hunting and a dishwasher is a must (we don't have one right now). Luckily my dh is pretty good about helping out with the dishes :) I know it seems like I give lots of good reviews, but there is a good reason: I know what we like, so I pick dishes I think we will like, and often we do. If i give a review of a recipe with no stars it's because I think I did something wrong usually so that's why it didn't come out right. Or if something has excellent ratings and I don't like it, I don't want to ruin that, because obviously I didn't like something, but that's not a refection of the actual recipe! <img src="http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b399/susied214/permanent%20collection/adoptedspring08.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> I dislike when people don't make the recipe correctly and give it a bad review. Ok, if you change one or two small things, fine, but if you make major changes, not ok. And when people give a bad review because it was good, but not what they are looking for? Sorry, but I don't get that. YOU picked it, if it tastes good but wasn't what you were looking for, not the recipe's fault :)
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