Easy French Bread
1 1/4 cups very warm water
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 package of active dry yeast
Place above ingredients in your bread machine according to manufacturer’s directions
(mine requires that I put wet ingredients in first - then dry).
Start machine on dough setting. Quick tip: I usually take a peak at my dough in the first 10 minutes or so to make sure all the flour is getting incorporated into the dough. Sometimes I just need to scrape down the sides a bit. After that, I leave it alone.
When dough cycle is complete (usually about an hour to an hour and a half), remove dough and place on floured surface.
Preheat oven to 200F degrees (you’re going to put your loaves in the preheated oven to rise). Once oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Cut dough ball in half and roll each loaf out (or save one dough ball for later use and put in freezer) to about 12 inches long in the shape of french bread.
Cut three small slices on top of bread and place loaves on a greased baking sheet (just spray evenly with Pam). Cover with a clean dish towel and place into warmed oven. Allow the loaves rise until doubled, about an hour.
Take loaves out and preheat oven to 450F degrees.
Bake loaves for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, turning the pan around once halfway during baking.
Remove loaves when finished baking and allow to cool on wire racks.
* If you are doing this by hand, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Take dough out and place on floured surface and knead dough for about 8-10 minutes (until dough is smooth and elastic). Put dough into lightly greased oven proof bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Preheat oven to 200F degrees and then turn off. Allow dough to rise in the warmed oven until doubled in size (about 45 min. to an hour). Then continue with above directions to finish making the bread.
Cook’s Note: I usually get the jar of Fleischmann’s Yeast for the Bread Machine and keep it stored in the fridge. If you are using yeast from a jar, give your jar a good shake and then measure out 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast for this recipe. Also, you just need to use table salt for this recipe. Kosher salt granules will be a little too large to use here.