Thursday, February 4, 2010

French Bread

2 T. active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 degrees- 115 degrees)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
1 tsp. cornmeal

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12-inch long loaves.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cornmeal. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Side note: I use my bread machine (dough setting) to form the dough. I tend to have better luck with my dough rising in the bread machine.