We usually buy French bread when we want to have it with an Italian dish, but last Saturday Mom suggested since we weren't going to be in town, that I found out how to make it so we could take some to a lasagna supper at a friend's house that night. I was very pleased with the recipe I found - super easy and fast! The bread only requires one 20-minute rising. The results were yummy! I have a feeling we won't be buying French bread again....
1 1/4 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons sesame seeds + dried Italian herbs
1.In bowl mix warm/hot water, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add flour and knead.
2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
3.Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
4.Whisk egg and water; brush over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds/herbs if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
Modified from recipe found here.