Back in the 90’s (yes, that’s the 1900’s) my MIL bought me quite a few Taste of Home recipe books. Each year for Christmas she would give me the annual recipes book. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of cookbooks over the years but for sentimental reasons I kept these. I’m so glad I did. Recently I have gotten so many great recipes from them!
This no-knead crusty french bread recipe is worth keeping any number of cookbooks around. You just never know when you are going to go through a cookbook and find your most favorite recipe ever. This crusty french bread recipe is amazingly easy and tastes just like the u-bake bread you grab from the store. Of course, I’ve changed a few things from the original recipe as the family has helped taste test loaves.
And boy have we taste tested loaves.
The little pic here to the right is just before baking. If it isn’t very warm in your house I suggest turning the stove on warm for about 5 minutes. Open oven door wide to make sure it’s not at a cooking temp. Put the dough in to rise one last time when it’s in the loaf form in the picture. Close door to keep some of the heat in there. This should help it rise better during that last 45 minutes.
I’ve also had good luck letting it sit somewhere warm and draft free and let it sit for over an hour on that last rise. Temperatures really make a difference.
This recipe is perfect for serving with soup, stew and using for sandwiches. It’s a great multi-purpose bread. Especially since it’s quick and easy. Serve it on the side to sop up the liquor from steamed clams or mussels or toast it for some bruschetta. There’s no end to the uses for this crusty french bread recipe.
- 1 (1/4oz) package active dry yeast
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp melted shortening
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- cornmeal (few Tbsp will do)
- Dissolve yeast in ½ cup water, add sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Add salt, shortning and remaining warm water. Stir to dissolve.
- Add all the flour and stir until smooth. I use my kitchen aid with the bread hook and just let it go until it scrapes everything from the sides and bottom for a few turns.
- Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. It should double in size.
- Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Roll each into approximately a 10x8 rectangle.
- Roll semi-tightly from the long side.
- Sprinkle cornmeal on greased baking sheet or non-stick baking sheet.
- Pinch to seal. Turn seam side down and curl ends under slightly.
- Place on baking sheet. cover and let rise for about 45 minutes. It again should double in size. Make sure it's in a warm environment so it rises well.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut 5-6 small diagonal slits in top of loaves.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
- Place on cooling rack.
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
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