New Orleans French Bread
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, shortening, and water. Mix on low speed until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add the salt and increase the speed to medium; knead for 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball. Lightly grease the inside of the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free space to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate the dough. Divide the dough in half and form into balls. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes. Form each ball into a 16 x 2 inch loaf. Place the loaves onto a large parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside in a draft-free space to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely. Slice and serve at room temperature or rewarm before serving. Enjoy!