Basic French Bread
|Active dry yeast||1⁄2 Ounce (1 Envelope)|
|Warm water||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|All purpose flour||3 Cup (48 tbs), sifted|
|Non-stick cooking spray||2 Tablespoon|
|White cornmeal/Yellow cornmeal||2 Tablespoon|
In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 1/2 cup of the water.
Let stand for about 5 minutes, then stir until the yeast dissolves.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour and salt.
Beat in the yeast mixture and the remaining water and continue beating until the mixture forms a ball, adding a little more flour or water as necessary until you have a workable dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 10 minutes.
Lightly coat a large bowl with the cooking spray, shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and turn so that the dough is coated on all sides.
Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk about 1 hour.
With your fist, punch down the dough.
Cover again and let the dough rise a second time until doubled in bulk about 45 minutes.
Punch the dough down again and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then roll and shape it into a cylinder about 1 foot long.
Coat a large baking sheet with the cooking spray and sprinkle with the cornmeal.
Place the dough on the baking sheet, cover with the dish towel, and let it rise once more for 30 minutes.
Toward the end of the rising period, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Fill a 13"x 9"x 2" baking pan with an inch of hot water and place it on the floor of the oven.
Using a sharp knife, slash the dough 1/4 inch deep down the center, then brush with water.
Place the bread in the center of the oven and, using a spray bottle, spray the sides of the oven with water.
Continue to spray every 5 minutes during the first 15 minutes of baking time.
Bake for a total of 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.