I wanted to make a pot of soup for dinner so I decided to also make a loaf of bread to go with it. One of my very favorite breads is this Crusty French Bread that I love to make. It’s simple and has always turned out delicious for me. I decided to make this bread more nutritious by using half whole wheat flour. I had to add a bit more water to the dough but other than that it was very easy to make. It smelled divine while it baked and my kids gobbled up freshly baked bread while doing homework… they couldn’t wait until dinner. They loved it and so did I. It paired nicely with the soup and tasted fantastic.
Place all dough ingredients (through yeast) in the bread machine in the order listed. Put the yeast in a well in the center of the flour. Select the dough cycle and press start. Once the bread machine stops (it was one and a half hours on my machine). Remove the pan from the bread machine and punch the dough down (deflate it), then cover and let it rise a second time, until doubled in size, at least 30 minutes.
Remove the dough and place it on a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Roll up jelly roll fashion and pinch the seam together. Tuck the ends underneath. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the bread on the prepared baking sheet.
Cover and let the bread rise until it doubles in size, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully make several evenly placed diagonal cuts (with a sharp knife) on top of the loaf. Beat together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water then brush over each loaf with a pastry brush.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Enjoy.