French Bread Edit
In a small bowl, soften yeast in warm water.
Combine salt and lukewarm water in large bowl.
Beat in 2 cups flour. Blend in yeast, and stir in enough flour to make stiff dough.
Turn out dough on floured surface.
Knead 10 to 15 minutes, working in last of flour (you may want to do this with a heavy duty
electric mixer with dough hooks). Form into a ball and put in greased bowl, turning to grease top, then cover with a cloth.
Rise until doubled (until a finger impression stays), about an hour, depending on temperature.
Punch down dough, turn out on floured surface, and divide in half.
Cover dough and rest for 10 minutes.
Shape each half of dough into a 5 by 12-
inch rectangle. Roll up each portion tightly, starting on the long side, sealing as you roll, taper if you like.
Place each loaf diagonally, seam side down, on a greased
baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Slash loaf tops ¼ inch diagonally, every 2½ inches with floured sharp knife or razor blade.
Beat egg white until foamy, add a tablespoon water.
Brush top and sides of loaves with egg mixture.
Cover with damp cloth, not touching loaves (drape cloth over inverted glasses).
oven to preheat to 375°F. Let loaves rise until doubled, 60 to 75 minutes.
Bake until light brown, about 20 minutes. Brush loaves with egg mixture again.
Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until done.
Tips, Notes, and Variations Edit
To get a rapid initial rise, use water about 130-135°F, and pour into bowl with
yeast mixed with initial flour and salt and start mixing. All rising should be in a warm place, like near the refrigerator.
A baking stone, ceramic brick, or even an iron skillet or griddle preheated in the oven (to place the the baking sheet on) will give a good "spring" or quick rise when the loaves are first placed in the oven.
For even crispier crust, brush each time with plain water.