This bread is so fast and easy - your kids could make it! Honestly. Start to finish - 45 minutes. I got this recipe from "The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner" by Liz Edmunds. 2 of my sisters and I went to a boutique and watched Liz make this bread right in front of us. We all bought this book and all 3 of us have made this bread on several occasions - always a winner!
1 1/2 c warm water (divided)
1 1/2 T yeast
2 t sugar (divided)
3 1/4 c flour
2 t salt
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 c water, the yeast and 1 t of the sugar. stir just to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture stand about 5 minutes or until bubbly or foamy.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, salt, the remaining 1 t of sugar and the yeast mixture. gradually add water, up to the remaining 1 cup and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that isn't too sticky. turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly, until the dough is smooth and elastic. *I don't have a food processor, so I usually mix with a wooden spoon for a minute, then dump everything on the counter and incorporate it from there.
Divide the dough in half and shape into baguettes. Put on a greased pan, make a shallow cut down the middle of each loaf. cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. *With my A/C on high right now - I put the dough in my oven (before I turn it on - then set the pan on top of the stove while I preheat the oven).
Put a shallow dish of water on the bottom rack of your oven (to create steam). Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or so. Brush with butter straight out of the oven.
Tonight and for an appetizer, we had slices of this bread - toasted up a bit with fresh garden tomatoes & basil and mozzerella. So delicious!