This bread is best when eaten the same day it's baked. If you have any left over, do as the French do: Use it to make French toast or a bread pudding.
1 package dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg white
How to Make It
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Place the flour and salt in a food processor, and pulse 2 times or until blended. With the food processor on, slowly add yeast mixture through food chute, and process until the dough forms a ball. Process for 1 additional minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 to 5 times.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover dough, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down, and shape into a 6-inch round loaf. Place loaf on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover dough and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Uncover dough, and make 3 diagonal cuts 1/4-inch deep across top of loaf using a sharp knife. Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white, and brush mixture over top of loaf. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Note: To make a baguette, let the bread dough rise once. Punch dough down, and roll into an 18 x 9-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll up the dough starting at the longer edge, pressing down firmly to eliminate any air pockets; then pinch seam and edges to seal. Cover the dough, let rise, and bake according to the recipe instructions at left.
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