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French Bread

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 25 min
First rise 1 hr, second rise 45 min

Cook Time: 15-20 min

Servings: 16

Recipe By: Linda Johnson Larsen

From:  Knack Low-Salt Cooking
Used with permission of Knack

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French Bread

Sour cream and orange juice are secrets to low-salt yeast bread. Yeast breads are typically quite high in salt. Not only does the salt add to the flavor of the bread, but it helps regulate the development and growth of the yeast. Bread made without salt either needs to have less yeast or sugar added, or it needs ingredients added that will help inhibit the yeast's growth. Acidic ingredients like orange juice, sour cream, yogurt, and vinegar are all good additions, and they give the bread a slight sour flavor, reminiscent of sourdough bread from San Francisco.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 to 3 cups bread flour, divided
2 packages (0.25-ounces each) dry yeast or 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1  egg
1  egg yolk
1  egg white, partially beaten
 cornmeal for sprinkling
Directions
Combine whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup bread flour, yeast, and salt.

In saucepan mix milk, orange juice, sour cream, yogurt, and vinegar; warm over low heat.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture with egg and yolk. Add remaining bread flour until firm dough forms. Knead. Cover; let rise 1 hour.

Punch down; divide in half. Roll to 14- x 6-inch rectangle; roll up, pinch ends; place on sheet. When you roll up the dough, roll it up tightly, but not so tightly the dough splits as you work. Grease a cookie sheet with two long swipes of shortening; sprinkle with cornmeal for a crunchy bottom.

Let rise 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Brush with egg white; bake 15 to 20 minutes.
Chef Suggestions
Kneading bread is easy and can be a great stress reliever. Flour the work surface, place the dough on it, then fold it over and push with your hands. Incorporate more flour until the dough is elastic and smooth.

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