French Bread (easy)
1 tablespoon shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
5-6 cups flour, divided
olive oil, as needed
1. In mixing bowl, cover shortening, vegan sugar and salt with 3/4 cup boiling water. Once shortening is melted, add another 3/4 cup cold/room temperature water.
2. Meanwhile, mix yeast with 1/2 cup water (113 degrees F). Allow to sit for approximately 3 minutes, stir to dissolve, then add to bowl.
3. Add 5 cups flour, and mix until a nice stiff dough is produced (about 4 minutes), adding flour as required. I use a dough hook, and find it makes the baker's life much easier.
3. Put dough in greased bowl and allow to double in bulk. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch down and divide into 2 portions. Form into loaves and place on cookie sheet. Allow to rise until doubled again.
4. After rising, make either 4 crosswise slashes per loaf or 1 horizontal slash the length of the loaf. For a really nice effect, put 1 teaspoon olive oil in the horizontal slash before baking. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden.
This recipe is excellent for days when you might get home a little early from work, and you can start the vegan bread before dinner. My wife and I have this at least once per week with dinner; there is nothing like piping hot fresh bread with soup, chilli, or chowder!