Just this week, I decided very late in the day that I wanted to make this bread to go with dinner. I started the process at 4:50 PM and we ate it with dinner at 6:30 PM. Seriously. Homemade bread in that amount of time? Sign me up.
Janna's French Bread
makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves
3 1/2 cups flour- I consistently have the best results with bread flour, but you can use all-purpose flour or a combo of AP and whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/4 cups warm water (as hot as the tap will go)
1 package of active-dry yeast
1 tbs sugar
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and oil. In a large measuring cup, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set it aside to get foamy and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. (You can also do this in your stand mixer.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes, until smooth. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375. Punch down the dough and shape into loaves (however many you're making. We prefer 1 big one). Place on a baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, until beautifully browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Let rest about 5-10 minutes before slicing and devouring.