I finally made a French bread. I was looking for a low calorie bread recipe, then found this one. Only 70 calories per slice which is way better than most bread. The bread was tasty, with the texture that French bread should have. It takes some time but is definitely worth the time.
3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup very warm water (120-140 degrees F)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water
Poppy seed or sesame seed
1. In large bowl, mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast. Add warm water and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaning flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
2. On lightly floured surface, knead dough about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Spray large bowl with cooking spray. Grease large bowl with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in warm place 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size. (Rising time is longer than times for traditional breads, which gives the typical French bread texture.) Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
3. Grease large cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half into 15 X 8 inch rectangle. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 15 inch side, to form a loaf. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Roll gently back and forth to taper ends. Place both loaves on cookie sheet.
4. Cut 1/4 inch deep slashes across tops of loaves at 2 inch intervals with sharp knife. Brush loaves with cold water. Let rise uncovered in warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
5. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In small bowl, mix egg white and 1 tablespoon cold water. Brush over loaves. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seed. Bake 25-30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool.
Adapted from Betty Crocker