||3 to 4 hours
| French cuisine | vegetarian cuisine | bread recipes
French Bread 
- In a small bowl, soften yeast in warm water.
- Combine salt and lukewarm water in large bowl.
- Beat in 2 cups flour.
- Blend in yeast, and stir in enough flour to make stiff dough.
- Turn out dough on floured surface.
- Knead 10 to 15 minutes, working in last of flour (you may want to do this with a heavy duty electric mixer with dough hooks).
- Form into a ball and put in greased bowl, turning to grease top, then cover with a cloth.
- Rise until doubled (until a finger impression stays), about an hour, depending on temperature.
- Punch down dough, turn out on floured surface, and divide in half.
- Cover dough and rest for 10 minutes.
- Shape each half of dough into a 5 by 12-inch rectangle.
- Roll up each portion tightly, starting on the long side, sealing as you roll, taper if you like.
- Place each loaf diagonally, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal.
- Slash loaf tops ¼ inch diagonally, every 2½ inches with floured sharp knife or razor blade.
- Beat egg white until foamy, add a tablespoon water.
- Brush top and sides of loaves with egg mixture.
- Cover with damp cloth, not touching loaves (drape cloth over inverted glasses).
- Turn on oven to preheat to 375°F.
- Let loaves rise until doubled, 60 to 75 minutes.
- Bake until light brown, about 20 minutes.
- Brush loaves with egg mixture again.
- Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until done.
- Cool on wire racks.
Tips, Notes, and Variations 
- To get a rapid initial rise, use water about 130-135°F, and pour into bowl with yeast mixed with initial flour and salt and start mixing.
- All rising should be in a warm place, like near the refrigerator.
- A baking stone, ceramic brick, or even an iron skillet or griddle preheated in the oven (to place the the baking sheet on) will give a good "spring" or quick rise when the loaves are first placed in the oven.
- For even crispier crust, brush each time with plain water.