from Mrs. Dick Nobis
First of all let me say that I don't usually use this recipe as a French bread recipe. To me, it doesn't taste like what I think of French bread. But I love this to use this recipe to make bread sticks.
Combine the following:
1/2 C warm water
2 pkg (or 5 tsp) dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
Let sit for a few minutes to make sure the yeast is active. It will begin to bubble and grow. If it doesn't grow, the yeast might be too old.
Combine and mix the following:
2 C. hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 C. all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1/3 C shortening or vegetable oil (I use vegetable oil for convenience)
When yeast mixture is active, add mixture 1 to mixture 2.
Add 3 more cups of flour. Let sit 10 minutes and then stir down. Repeat 6 more times.
Mold in to loaves. Put on greased cookie sheet and brush top with beaten egg whites that have been combined with a small amount of water. Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour. Bake 325 degrees until golden brown.
For bread sticks, take a ball of dough and form in to long snake like form. Fold in half and twist the ends around each other. You could also just form it in to long shapes.
Brush the top of the bread with melted butter. Sprinkle the tops with Season Salt, or Parmesan cheese. (or both!) Bake 325 degrees on greased cooked sheet for about 1/2 hour, or until golden brown.