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Albertson's French Bread

The aroma of crusty French bread transports you to the picturesque sidewalks of Paris. Moist and chewy inside, with a sesame-studded crust, this bread pairs perfectly with cheeses, salads and soups.

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon shortening, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Pour warm water (105 to 115 degrees F) into a large bowl; sprinkle yeast over top. Stir in sugar, shortening and salt. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture forms a soft dough. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes; leave covered with a tea towel in a warm place; allow to rise for at least 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile generously grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan; punch down to press out air; place in pan. Allow to rise for about 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Slash the top diagonally in two or three places, brush with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Bread will make a hollow sound when tapped.

Cooking Tips: French bread can also be baked on a flat sheet and shaped by hand. A one-pound loaf, rolled into a long shape and slashed diagonally along its length, is called a baguette, French for "rod."

Servings: 16

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