French Bread

Adapted from [Steamy Kitchen|]

Yields: 2 medium loaves



In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the warm water (just above body temp) and yeast. Stir to combine. In another bowl, stir together 3-3/4c of the flour (reserving 1/4c) and the salt. Turn mixer on low speed and pour the flour/salt mixture into the yeast/water mixture gradually. Turn mixer up to medium speed and mix for 3 minutes. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. If it's too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon until it comes together.

Dust a clean work surface with the remaining 1/4c of flour. Turn dough out onto the surface and knead until elastic and smooth. Form into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450. Place a large inverted baking sheet into the oven to preheat.

Turn dough out onto floured work surface, punch down, and form into a ball. Cut the ball in half. Shaping one half at a time, spread the dough into a rectangle, then fold the rectangle inward onto itself length-wise to form a long loaf. Pinch the edges together to form a seam. Turn seam-side down. Repeat with other half. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, take a sharp knife and cut shallow slits diagonally across the tops of the loaves.

Have 1/2c of water standing by. Remove the inverted baking sheet from the oven. Carefully place your loaves onto the hot pan. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven. Just as you are about to close the oven door, toss the 1/2c water onto the oven floor (bottom of oven). Close the door immediately. Bake 20-25 minutes.