Whole-Wheat French Bread

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This recipe makes beautiful light French bread that everyone can enjoy. It has a lovely texture and if you happen to have some left over (not too likely) and getting a little stale, it also makes great French toast.  As a matter of fact, I sometimes make a loaf just for that purpose. 

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Using your bread machine, just set the cycle on “dough”.  After it is done mixing, you remove the dough to the counter where you can punch it down and roll it into a long log about three inches thick. Transfer it to a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and let it rise double.

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Bake in a hot oven for about 25 minutes and the end result without hardly any work on your part is a large, aromatic loaf of fresh, delicious French bread.

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Whole-Wheat French Bread

Servings – 1 loaf
Cook Time – 25 minutes
Passive Time: 1 hr. 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil -for oil-free, use 2 tablespoons of applesauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp finely ground flax meal

1 1/4 teas salt

3 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour or more as needed

1 tbsp active dry yeast


Instructions:
  1. Combine all but the flour and yeast in bread pan of bread machine. Stir and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the yeast and the flour; Turn to “dough” cycle and start. When ingredients are mixed, the ball of dough should not be sticky, if needed Add 1-2 tablespoons additional flour as it kneads.  The ball should move around the pan freely but not be overly stiff either.  If it is, add a tablespoon of water while it continues kneading, to get it exactly right.
  3. When dough cycle signals done or it has risen double, remove dough from pan, lightly sprinkle counter with flour.  Punch down and knead into a ball.  Cover and let rise a second time until double in size.
  4. While it is rising, set a small pan of hot water on oven floor, and preheat oven to 400°.
  5. After the second rise, punch down again and with the palms of your hands roll into a log about 3 inches thick.
  6. Place parchment on a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
  7. Carefully lay dough log out on cookie sheet -angled from corner to corner.
  8. Slash top diagonally with a knife, 1/4-inch deep every three inches.
  9. Put cookie sheet near oven vent where heat is coming out and let loaf rise until double.
  10. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until browning and crusty.

Notes:

If you do not have access to white whole-wheat flour, you can use regular whole-wheat; you might want to replace a tablespoon or two with vital wheat flour.