Kitchen Table: Herbes de Provence French Bread

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Makes 4 loaves

A visit to Provence, France, inspired this recipe.

• 2 1/2 cups warm water
• 1 package dry yeast
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
• 7 cups flour
• 1 egg white, beaten slightly

1. Stir the first five ingredients together to dissolve the yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour. Knead 10 minutes. Let rise, covered, until doubled in bulk. Punch down, knead three or four times to remove air, then divide into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a long loaf and place it in a well-greased French bread pan; slash the top. Brush the loaves with the egg white and let rise until doubled.

2. Bake 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 400°F, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake 20 minutes longer, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on racks. Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze if desired.

Mary Ann Miller, Jacksonville, Florida