Here it is! The easiest, tastiest french bread recipe. This recipe will make 2 very nice loaves.
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 C. Warm water (I test the temp this way-If I stick my finger in and it burns, it's too hot. If I stick my
finger in and it feels very warm but doesn't burn, it is just right)
4-5 C. Flour-I use Hard White Wheat or Bread Flour. You can mix it up and use what you like.
2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Sugar (I used Sucanat this last time and did NOT like the taste that much)
Add yeast to warm water and let sit until foamy, about 5 or so minutes. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook add 2 c. of the flour, all the salt and all the sugar. Stir it up. Once the yeast is all foamy, pour it all into the flour mixture and start mixing. Add the flour, a half cup at a time until the dough comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. You can take the dough out and knead it on a lightly floured surface but it is just as easy to leave it in the mixer on med. to med. low speed for about 5 minutes and let the mixer do the work. Once the dough is looking nice and elastic-y, dump it into a large, greased bowl and turn it over to grease the top. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place to rise for about an hour or when it has doubled in size. Once it has doubled, punch dough down and cut it into 2 pieces. You can finish this off in a couple of ways. You could roll each half out on a lightly floured surface into a foot long rectangle and roll it up by the long side OR you can just stretch it and sqeeze it till it forms a log about a foot long. Put both logs on a baking sheet (use parchment paper and you won't have to wash the pan-just sayin') and make sure they aren't anywhere near touching each other, cover with the towel again and let them rise once more till they are about doubled again. Usually takes about 30-45 mins. depending on how warm the kitchen is. Once they have risen a second time, pop them into a 450 degree oven and bake for 15 mins. They should make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom at the end of the baking time. If not, bake for another minute or two.
I am such a dork and never bothered to take any reference photos while I made these yesterday but today I got smart and photo'd the bread in it's breakfast reincarnation-FRENCH TOAST!!!