I know I already have a French bread recipe on this blog but if you know me at all I like to try a lot of different recipes. I enjoy trying new things and I love love love all bread!!! Kind of a weakness for me next to sweets, of course, but at least when you make bread at home you control what type of ingredients go in it and hey lets face it homemade bread is divine. Those of you out there that are scared of making your own bread just try it. It takes practice but once you get the hang of it, it is so easy and might I add cheap!!!
2 1/4 cup warm water
2 T. sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. oil
5 1/2-6 cups flour( I used half white half wheat)
In a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture activate(get bubbly and foamy) for 8-10 minutes. If using instant yeast, proceed with the recipe no need to let the yeast activate. Add the salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour and mix. Add the 2 1/2-3 cups more of flour gradually. The dough should clean off the side of the bowl and not be too sticky but it should still be soft. Knead for 5 minutes with the dough hook or 10 minutes with your hands until you have a soft smooth dough. Leave the dough in the mixer or bowl to rest for 10 minutes. Then stir it down(turn on the mixer for 10 seconds or stir down with a wooden spoon) and then allow it to rest for another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9x13 inch rectangle. Roll the dough up starting at the long edge(like a jelly roll)and pinch the seam to seal. Repeat with the second piece of dough and place them on a large cookie sheet (equal distance apart) lined with parchment or silpat liner(or cooking spray if you don't have either of the other two) Cover the loaves and let raise until doubled in size. Mine took an hour. With a very sharp knife cut 3-4 gashes at an angle in the top of each loaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden and baked through.
Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe