French Bread


1-1/2 packages active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups lukewarm water

1 tablespoon salt

6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cornmeal

1 tablespoon soy-milk mixed with 1 tablespoon water

How to prepare

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the lukewarm water. Allow the yeast to grow for five minutes. Mix the salt with the flour, then stir it into the yeast mixture, one cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. ( You may need less than 6 cups. If so, save the rest for kneading the dough.) Remove the dough to a lightly floured bread or countertop and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary. This should take about ten minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it so that the entire surface is coasted. Cover the dough and let it rice in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough. Turn it out onto the floured bread board or countertop and divide in two. Pat each half into a flat oblong. Roll the dough away from you to create two long cylindrical loaves. Place the loaves on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. With a knife, slash the tops of the loaves diagonally in three places, then brush with the soy-milk and water mixture. Place the dough in the cold oven, then set the temperature to 400 degree. Bake for thirty-five minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when tapped with your knuckles.

Makes 2 loaves

Preparation Time: 2-1/2 hours

Baking Time: 35 minutes

Note: The temperature of lukewarm water is 85 to 105 degrees. To test for the correct temperature, drop a few drops onto the inside of your wrist. If it is lukewarm the water will feel neither hot nor cold.