You would think that French bread would be more difficult that regular homemade bread. But I think it's easier and more yummy!
I tried a few recipes before I found this one that works pretty well. It makes two nice long crusty loaves.
It's recipeZaar #101476 in case you are wondering.
Crusty French Bread Recipe
50 min | 20 min prep | 2 loaves
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5-5 1/2 cups bread flour
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
4. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
5. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
6. Punch down and divide in half.
7. Shape dough into two long slender loaves. (I pushed the dough into large rectangles and rolled them up into slender loaves. I think that yields the best result...)
8. Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal on large cookie sheet.
9. Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf
10. Cover and let rise until doubled.
11. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
12. Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust.