Fabulous French Bread

I'm always looking for fast and easy homemade bread recipes.

I came across this one on Life in the Lofthouse's site (which I slightly adapted) and figured 
if it truly was as easy to make as it sounded, and tasted good, it would be perfect.

And it was!

No kneading or long rising time. 
In fact it's all said and done in about an hour. 
Awesome stuff!

Fabulous French Bread

1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 cup cold water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 170 degrees F.

Fill a glass measuring cup with 1 cup of water and microwave for 3 minutes, or until water is boiling.

In another glass measuring cup sprinkle the yeast over the 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of the called for sugar. Stir in and let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to foam.

Pour the remaining sugar, salt and butter into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a fork, mash these ingredients together. Pour the 1 cup of boiling water over the butter mixture. Add the 1 cup of cold water into the mixer. Then pour in the yeast/water mixture.

Add 3 cups of flour and using the dough hook, turn mixer on low speed. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Once all 6 cups are in, turn speed to medium-low and let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be nice and elastic. Be careful not to over-flour. I used all 6 cups, but would not use any more than that.

Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.

Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray or use a silpat. After the dough has rested in the bowl, dump it onto the greased cookie sheet.

Take a sharp knife, spray it with non-stick spray, and cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Then let it rest again for 5 minutes. (These resting periods for the dough is important so definitely follow these steps.)

To shape the dough before baking: Take one section of dough and press it out into a rectangle. Just use your hands, you don’t need a rolling pin. Fold one long side up over half of dough, then fold the other side over the first. Then tuck the ends under the loaf. Use your fingers to tuck seams down underneath the loaf and shape it. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough. Once all 3 sections of dough are shaped cut 3 angled 1/2 inch slits onto the tops of dough.

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Spread the egg over the tops of each loaf, making sure to get inside the slits.

Place the loaves into the oven and let them rise for about 15 minutes (while the oven is on 170 degrees F.) Then turn oven up to 400 degrees F (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 12-17 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and allow them to cool a bit before slicing them.

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