I woke up yesterday morning and realized that I wouldn't have any bread for the Italian Beef sandwiches that I was making that night. I have never made french bread before and I was pretty scared to do it. My husband is a BIG lover of bread, so really making any type of bread is nerve wracking to me because of my cute hubby. We really liked this recipe, but Emi says that there should be more salt. It was probably a good thing that there wasn't that extra salt though because come dinner time our meal was pretty salty and the bread saved us.
This was a pretty easy recipe, especially since I have my stand mixer, although I don't think it would be that difficult without it. I just hate touching dough because it always sticks!
You've probably seen that round oven dish in a couple of my pictures. It is stoneware. I now swear by this. Mine isn't a Pampered Chef one and I can't tell you where I got it since it was a Wedding gift, but if you don't have some stoneware, go out and buy some! It bakes everything perfectly!
2 ¼ c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
5 ½ -6 cups flour-stirred before measured
Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this proof—or sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well. Add in 2 1/2 -3 more cups of flour. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too stick - but be careful not to add too much flour. Knead for a few minutes.
Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9x13 rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal, allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with second part of dough. With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at an angle on the top of each. Cover lightly; allow to rise 30 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.