Easy French Bread
1/4 C warm water
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 – 4 C flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water
1 egg white and 1 Tbsp water
Combine water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl. Allow to stand until bubbly. Add in sugar, salt and water. Gradually add in flour, mix well and knead for 5 minutes. Let rise for 15 – 20 minutes in a warm place.
If you want to make two smaller loaves, divide dough in half. Flour a surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Then roll up the dough jelly roll style and turn ends under and place seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet. Cut 3 diagonal cuts into the loaf about 1/4 inch deep.
Combine water and egg white and mix. Brush onto loaf. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Boil a pan of water. Pour water into a shallow oven proof dish and place on the lower rack in oven. TURN OFF OVEN.
Place sheet with bread on the rack above the water. Let rise until double and then take out the pan of water. Turn oven onto 425 degrees and bake 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 375 and bake for 8 more minutes or until golden brown.