In case you haven't noticed...I do a lot of baking and try a lot of new recipes. So far, this is my favorite recipe for crusty French bread. It comes together in minutes and you have a fresh baked loaf hot out of the oven within an hour!
1½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
3 - 4 cups flour (any combination of white and whole wheat)
Combine water, salt, honey, and yeast in a medium bowl. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes, until bubbling. Add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, until dough is no longer sticky. Roll dough into a 12 - 14" roll (or you can divide it in half and roll it into two long skinny baguettes). Place dough roll(s) on a cookie sheet (this won't work in a bread pan), greased or sprayed with non-stick spray, cover, and let sit 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees while it sits. Make diagonal slits, 1/2" deep, on top with a razor blade. (Optional: spray with salt water). Bake 20 minutes.
I use my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment and mix in the flour (about 3 3/4 cups) just until the dough forms and is no longer sticky. Then I usually form the loaf or two baguettes and place them on a sheet of parchment paper. While they sit for 20 minutes, I preheat the oven to 450 degrees with my pizza stone placed on the top rack. When it's time to bake it's super simple to slip the parchment paper and loaves right onto the preheated stone.
We love this bread alongside any meal but especially Italian.
It's easy to turn it into garlic bread or cheesy bread and it's also the perfect bread recipe to use if you like to make your own individual French bread pizzas! Two baguettes turn into 8 individual pizzas that you can wrap, freeze and reheat for a quick snack or meal!
I'm also a huge fan of smearing a slice or two (or three) with butter and dulce de leche or cajeta.
Oh, so good!