I love French bread, but it is so expensive that we rarely bought it from the store. Since starting to use the bread machine, it has made French bread much more accessable!

This french bread recipe is from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger. The touch of whole wheat flour gives it a wonderful flavor, and it is a beautiful loaf.

Chuck Williams’s Country French-1 and 1/2 pound loaf.
1 and 1/4 cups water
2 and 1/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons gluten
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast

Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the correct order for your machine (or make bread mixes!) Set crust on dark and program for the basic or French Bread cycle. Press start.

I use the dough cycle and then usually form the dough into a long oval loaf, let it rise and then bake it on my baking stone. This time I was in a hurry though, so I made the dough and then baked it in a loaf pan in the oven, since I already had the oven heated up for dinner and a loaf of white bread for the kids.
When making dough in the bread machine, you do need to keep an eye on it when it first starts. Moisture levels in the flour are variable, and sometimes I need to add a tablespoon or two of water to get the right consitency. This bread tastes absolutely wonderful. It is by far my favorite bread right now.