Baking with yeast is a double-edged phenomenon. On the one hand, fresh baked, homemade bread is nothing short of amazing.
On the other hand, it takes forever! Kneading, rising, punching, shaping, rising again, preheating and final baking. By the time its ready, you’re too exhausted to enjoy the darn thing.
However, this particular bread is oober quick. And easy. And tastes amazing. It’ll make you turn your nose up at all the supermarket loaves. Go ahead. Snub.
Easy French Bread
adapted from James Beard
1 1/2 TB active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 TB sugar
1 TB salt
5 cups bread flour
1 TB egg white+ 1 TB water, mixed together in a small bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour the warm water. Add the yeast, sugar, and salt and mix with the dough hook attachment until dissolved. Add the flour and mix on low for 2 minutes and on med-high for 10 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise 1 1/2 hours.
Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Shape each into long baguette shapes and slash the tops with a serrated knife. Brush with egg white mixture and place into a cold oven. Turn the oven to 400F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the golden brown.