Easy French Bread
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (2 whole packets)
2 tsp sugar
2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 tbls olive oil
2 Tblsp salt
3-5 cups Bread Flour
Pour yeast, sugar and warm water in mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit and bloom for 5 minutes.
Add Olive oil, salt and 3 cups of bread flour and mix on low speed till combined. Add another cup of flour and mix till the dough starts to pull away from the sides.
Keep mixing for 1 minute to see if the bread pulls up from the bottom of the bowl. If it doesn't, add 1/4 cup flour at a time until it does. Not adding more than 1 cup.
When all the flour is incorporated, turn the speed up to 6 on your mixer and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
When it is done, it should be soft and smooth.
Mold into a ball shape and put in a large greased bowl big enough to let the dough expand to twice it's size. Cover with oil sprayed plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft free place to rise for about 45 minutes.
When dough has doubled in size, gently deflate it and turn out onto a lightly floured counter. Working from the center out, flatten with your hands to approximately a 18 inch rectangle.
Start from the top of the long side and pull the dough over toward you and pinch it with your fingers into the bottom layer of dough. Like rolling up a cinnamon roll.
Gently roll to secure seam and place on a cookie sheet that's been sprinkled with cornmeal.
Turn oven to 400 degrees while the dough rises.
Spray dough with olive oil spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise till doubled and oven is heated.
When dough is risen (doubled in size), remove plastic wrap and with a VERY sharp knife slice 4 angled cuts aross the bread to help with expansion as it bakes. Spray with olive oil.
Bake dough for 25-30 minutes. Dough should be golden brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Place the finished bread on a rack to cool so that the bottom doesn't become soggy while cooling on the pan. Serve with lots of butter and homemade strawberry perservers. Or make a toasted tomato sandwich. Or you can make Turkey, avocado and sharp cheddar cheese sandwich. The possibilities are endless.
From start to finish this bread takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to prepare. Not bad for homemade goodness. An added bonus is that it makes your house smell like a bakery and your family think your awesome!
Go forth and bake!