- Bread can be made in a bread machine capable of making large loaves of bread. Use the french bread setting and, dependimng on your machine, select the appropriate crust color.
- For hand-made bread, a bread machine can be used to make the dough or:
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and make your dough. Remove dough to floured surface and thoroughly knead dough until uniform and non-sticky.
- Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to rise. When the dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead the dough again until of a uniform consistency.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. For each piece, flatten into rectangle. Roll out until 12 by 6 inches. Roll into 12 inch long cigar shape. Pinch seam to close and round ends with the fingers.
- Take cookie sheet. Lightly grease with shortening. Sprinkle with corn meal. Place dough rolls on cookie sheet. Cover with cloth and set in warm place to rise.
- When dough has risen to loaf size, bake in preheated 425°F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce setting to 375° and bake an additional 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool on rack.
- Instead of forming into loaves, the dough can be formed into mounds to produce "Sheepherder's Bread." Can make one large loaf or two smaller loaves.
- The dough can be rolled into long cords that can be doubled and then twisted and then allowed to rise before baking.
- As baked in the directions above, the crust will be tough and leathery with a dull golden brown color. If the loaves are brushed with water after the first fifteen minutes of baking, the crust will be flakey with a dull golden brown finish. If the baking loaves are brushed with a milk and egg mixture 15 minute before baking is completed, the crust will be a deep glossy brown with a tough flakey texture.
- When baked on cookie sheets, the loaves tend to flaten out. There are French bread "molds" that can help the finished bread have that classic French loaf look.