I can't believe I made this!! I have been on a quest to make good bread. I don't know why, but I have always had the desire to be able to bake bread, rolls, any yeast type of bread, and I have failed miserably numerous times. Somehow they are always dense and resemble rocks more than bread. Over the past couple of months I have found success. I had a friend who gave me a few tips and it took some practice. When I finally had success at dinner rolls I was so excited until I took a bite. It was everything a dinner roll should be; light, slightly sweet, a little moist and a hint of butter flavor...but something was missing...could it be the SALT?!! They were ruined because I had forgotten to put in 1 tsp of salt. It made all the difference. The very next day I was back at work kneading and dusting with flour and they turned out perfect! Joey gave me a big hug and gasped "Thank you!" I now feel like an official baker. I even do it all by hand. No mixer--just me, a bowl, and a wooden spoon. So now I am venturing beyond dinner rolls and I made French Bread and alas, another success. (On the first try too.) I feel like I am getting the hang of this bread thing.
Here is the recipe from allrecipes.com
Fabulous French Loaves
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
1 T white sugar
2 c water
5-6 cups bread flour
1 T salt
1 T vegatable oil
2 T cornmeal
1 egg white, beaten
In a small bowl sprinkle sugar and yeast into warm water. Let stand for about 10 min. until foamy.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, 2 c water, 3 c of the flour, salt sugar, and vegetable oil;stir well to combine. Make sure there are no lumps. Stir in remaining flour 1/2 c at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lighly oil a large bowl and place dough into bowl and turn once to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let ride for 1 hour or until doubled.
Divide the dough in half. Roll each into a 9x15 rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style. Seal edges and place seam side down on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Slash 3 times. Brush with egg whites. COver and rise for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 min or until golden brown.
Tip:Cor a crispy crust place a small bread pan full of boiling water on the bottom rack in the oven. It will create steam that gives this bread crust a classic crisp.