Crusty French Bread

This recipe makes one yummy loaf of French Bread.

1 package (or 2 t.) active dry yeast
1 C warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 T. sugar
2 T. Vegetable oil or Olive oil
1 1/2 t. salt
3 C all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, oil, salt and 1 cup flour. Mix well and add the remaining flour to form a stiff, sticky dough (I can always tell when there is enough flour by watching until the dough stops sticking to the side of the bowl in my mixer.) Don't add too much flour!

Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. (I found a neat trick to raise the dough/bread in a cool oven with only the oven light on.)
Punch down dough; return to bowl. Cover and let rise again for 30 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a rectangle. Roll the dough (on the longest end) to make a roll of dough. Pinch the seams and taper the ends. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet covered with cornmeal or oil. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes.

1 egg white
1 t. cold water

Beat egg white and 1 t. water, brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in apart across the top of the loaf.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
*** Put ice cubes on a tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam so that you can get a little extra crunch. It is is soft on the inside.


Julie said...

I started using this recipe a few months ago and this is now the recipe I use all the time! It is wonderful! Simple, easy, & tastes great. I'm lazy though and rarely use the cornmeal, egg white, or water. Thank you.

I also use it for cinnamon rolls...it's very versatile.