I am always looking for a good bread recipe. I love french bread and have yet to find the perfect one. Well, my search is over....this is THE one! It has the perfect crust and soft goodness on the inside. Not only is this an easy recipe, but the ingredients are things that I always have on hand. The original recipe did not make use of the bread machine, but I used mine to make it even more simple.
You won't be disappointed as you are eating this awesome bread with your family at your next meal.
(adapted from Deals to Meals)
(this amount makes 3 small loaves or 2 large):
2 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. yeast
3 T. sugar
2 T. white vinegar
Add these ingredients together in the pan of your bread machine. Let sit until bubbly.
1 T. salt
1/3 c. oil
6 to 7 cups flour (or a little more if it's too soft)
Turn machine on to bread cycle. I let my dough cycle all the way up until it got ready for the first rising. I started out with 6 cups of flour but the dough was still a bit sticky so I added about another cup until the dough was more stiff. Once the machine finished the kneading and before the first rise, I stopped the machine and dumped the dough into an oiled bowl and then put in the oven with a small pot of boiling water. The water will keep the dough moist. Watch the dough and punch it down when it gets to the top of the mixing bowl. Do this every time it gets to the top of the bowl, as long as you have time to babysit it (2-5 times). Put the dough on a greased counter top and divide into 3 sections. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet. Roll the dough balls into rectangle/long French bread shapes. Slash tops of bread diagonally 3-5 times and cover with a beaten egg. Let rise 30 minutes (or until doubled) on the counter, or you can put them in your oven at 170 and wait until they are the size you want to cook them at. Once they are to the right size, turn up your stove to 375 (without opening the door!) and let them bake until done. Or, just raise on the counter and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.