French Bread 1

2-1/2 cups warm water
1 pack dry yeast
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
7 cups flour
1 egg yolk

In large mixing bowl, add water, yeast, sugar and salt and stir until well dissolved. Gradually add flour until dough is firm. Scatter remaining flour on formica top or board and pour stick dough on flour and began kneading with the palm of your hand pushing the dough down and away from you. Use more flour from the sack if necessary but knead approximately 10 minutes. Using large mixing bowl, grease generously with shortening. Dump dough in container and fold over to cover dough with grease. Cover with wet dough and let rise in warm place until double in bulk. Punch dough down and knead two or three times to remove air.

Divide in 4 equal pieces and shape loaves, do not use flour. Using palms of your hands, squeeze dough until it is shaped like a piece of rope about 19 inches long. Place in well greased french bread loaf pans. If you do not have french bread pans, use large cookie sheet, making sure they will not touch when rising. Slash tops in several places with sharp knife, brush with egg yolk and let rise until double in bulk. Bake 10 minutes in preheated 400F oven, lower to 350 and bake 30 more minutes. Remove from pans and cool. May be wrapped in foil and frozen. To serve, warm in foil 20 minutes.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana