Basic French Bread

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Pour warm water (105 to 115F) 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 350F. 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.

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