Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; stir. Combine water and 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Cool to 120° to 130°. Gradually add water mixture to flour mixture, beating at low speed of an electric mixer. Beat an additional 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir in enough of the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour to make a soft dough.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over work surface. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 to 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon flour over work surface. Punch dough down; turn out onto surface; knead 4 or 5 times. Divide dough in half. Roll 1 portion of dough into a 15- x 7-inch rectangle. Roll up dough, starting at long side, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place loaves, seam side down, in 2 well-greased French baguette pans. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Make 1/4-inch-deep slits diagonally across loaves. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Place a shallow pan containing 1 inch of water on bottom rack of oven; place baguette pans on top rack. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until loaves are golden. Remove from pans; brush with remaining butter.
Light and Luscious
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