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My wonderful high school French teacher, Mr. Dilgren, in his never ending quest to get me to learn the French language, taught me this French bread recipe that he learned while he lived in France. His efforts in teaching me French were in vain, but I did remember his wonderful, hearty, peasant style french bread recipe. This recipe is easy to make with or without rapid rise yeast. It also makes excellent garlic bread.
****Rapid rise yeast notes: If you are using rapid rise yeast the water temperature MUST be between 120 degrees and 130 degrees! Use a thermometer to determine water temperature, the rapid rise yeast is very picky.
Flour notes: Montana Sapphire, non bleached flour is the best choice for this bread. You can also use any "Bread" flour as long as it's unbleached.
This dough recipe also makes great pizza. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes at 380 to 400 degrees. Prepare dough and raise as per above. Put into a preheated oven and omit the tray of water in the oven. Use your favorite sauce and cheese, or lightly brush with olive oil and add a touch of salt and pepper for a more traditional pizza.