My dear friend Carol emailed me recently with this recipe. She is a really good bread maker, so I knew it had to be good. When I found out I could make it in the KitchenAid, I ran to the store and got bread flour so I could try it that very night.
OK, so do you like the La Brea type breads, you know those GORGEOUS artisan-type breads that look like you could never make them? I love them. I usually have a few loaves tucked in my freezer. Well, let me tell you, with this recipe you CAN MAKE them. Really. You can. I don't have a lot of experience with bread making and I found this recipe to be a snap. And, may I say that this bread took as little as 10 minutes of my time. The mixer truly does all the work. And it doesn't put a strain on the mixer at all.
I have never made homemade bread with such ease and such amazing results. The taste and texture are wonderful. It is nice and chewy like a good artisan bread should be. I guarantee you will LOVE this bread and be so proud you made it. I keep looking at the picture of this bread and just keep BEAMING! Maybe I'll post again with variations - I'm thinking I'd like to try 1/2 wheat flour next time or maybe toss in some rosemary.
This bread is great served alongside some really good olive oil for dipping. But plain old butter is quite fine, indeed. I am sure this would make a fabulous garlic bread, too.
Artisan French Loaves
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon cornmeal
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. You want the dough to be a little sticky, but not too sticky.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12-in.-long loaves.
Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (I used Parchment instead). Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each - 79 calories per slice).