This is so easy. Seriously. I'm willing to go to great lengths to make my own bread, but in this case it wasn't necessary. I wish I'd known homemade french bread could be so quick and simple. And taste so amazing. Here's the convenient thing (or two) about this recipe: it uses instant yeast (so no proofing) and it only requires a single rise. In just about an hour I can take you from a pile of flour and yeast to what you see above. A soft, tender, golden, chewy loaf that's even mostly whole wheat! Here's how it's done...
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose but you will need more of it)
1 Tbsp. instant dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 F)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, for kneading
1 egg white + 1 Tbsp. water , for egg wash
1. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour and yeast. Stir in the water, olive oil, sugar, and salt and mix until well combined. Slowly add the all-purpose flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth.
2. Roll the dough out into a 12x15 rectangle. Beginning at the long side, roll it up tightly. (Excellent photos of this process here.) Tuck the ends under and place (seam-side down) on a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal or a lightly greased baking sheet.
3. With a sharp knife, cut several diagonal slits across the top of the loaf 1/4-inch deep. Whisk to combine the egg white and water. Brush over the top and sides of the loaf. Let rise for about 45 minutes- 1 hour, until doubled in size.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven (and a pizza stone, if using) to 375 F. Bake in preheated oven (you can place the parchment paper directly on the pizza stone if that's what you are using) for about 20 minutes, until the loaf is deep golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf (easily doubled- or tripled- for multiple loaves).
(Adapted from How Does She)