2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5-5 1/2 cups bread flour [I never have bread flour on hand, and it's hard to find here. I use regular flour and it turns out just fine.]
- Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
- Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
- Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
- Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. [I do not knead by hand; I use kitchen aid on medium for approximately 5 minutes.]
- Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
- Punch down and divide in half.
- Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
- Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
- Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I use scissors).
- Cover and let rise until doubled.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust. [Turn finished bread onto cooling rack to avoid soggy bottoms. And for a very soft crust, cover cooling bread with dish towel.]
- [It's hard to mess this recipe up. Try it. You will suddenly become a baker.]