3 3/4 to 4 1/2 cups , divided
1 (1/4 oz.) envelope quick-rising yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 cups boiling water
STIR 2 cups flour, yeast and salt in large mixing bowl. Microwave 1 1/2 cups water on HIGH about 1 minute or until temperature reaches 120º to 130ºF. Add to flour mixture. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead 5 minutes. Invert mixing bowl to cover dough and let rest 5 minutes. Uncover and knead an additional 5 minutes.
COAT a large bowl with no-stick cooking spray; place dough in prepared bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rest in a warm place 1 hour.
PUNCH down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured surface to a 12- x 8-inch rectangle. Starting at long edge, roll-up jelly roll fashion. Pinch ends and seams to seal. Coat baking sheet with no-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam-side down, on baking sheet.
COVER loosely with greased plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 400ºF. Place an empty cast iron skillet on bottom oven rack. Position second oven rack in center of oven. When bread is ready to bake, uncover and slash loaves with sharp knife to make 4 to 5 diagonal cuts (1/4-inch deep) at 2-inch intervals on top of each loaf. Place baking sheet on top rack in oven. Quickly and carefully pour 2 cups boiling water into hot skillet in oven and close oven door. (This creates steam which produces a crisp crust.) Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.
WHOLE WHEAT FRENCH BREAD:
Prepare as directed above, but substitute 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour plus 1/2 cup bread flour for 2 cups bread flour used in step 1 and reduce salt to 1 1/4 teaspoons. Also add 2 tablespoon honey to 1 1/2 cups water used in step 1.
Serving Size (2 of 24 slices), Calories 160 (Calories from Fat ), Total Fat g (Saturated Fat g, Trans Fat g), Cholesterol mg, Sodium 290mg, Total Carbohydrate 32g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 1g), Protein 6g, Potassium mg, thiamine mg, Riboflavin mg, niacin mg, Folate mg, Vitamin B6 mg, Vitamin B12 mcg, Vitamin A mg, Vitamin C mg, Vitamin D mg, Calcium mg, Iron mg.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
* Ensure all recipe ingredients are gluten free by referencing the ingredient labels, as products may vary. If uncertain, contact the ingredient manufacturer.