I made some banana bread yesterday, but it was pretty dark on top - this new oven is going to take some figuring out! Anyway- no picture because it was ugly, though it tasted fantastic!
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (usually that's exactly what is in one packet)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (105°‐115° F)
4 to 41/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use just 4 and then a few sprinkles to keep my hands and work space well floured. Also, I like to use bread flour- even better! Unbleached is good too though if that's what ya gots)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt (use kosher salt for extra-deliciousness)
In a large bowl sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups flour until combined. Stir in salt and 2 cups of remaining flour until mixture forms a stiff dough. On a lightly floured surface knead dough with lightly floured hands 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, kneading in enough of remaining 1/2 cup (I use less) flour to keep dough from sticking. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled (I use Olive Oil) deep bowl, turning to coat with oil, and let rise, bowl covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Punch down dough and form into a long slender loaf about 21 inches long and 3 inches wide. Put loaf diagonally on a lightly greased large or 17- by 14-inch baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, about 30 minutes. (Baguette may be made up to this point 4 hours ahead and chilled.)
Make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on loaf with a sharp knife and lightly brush top with cool water (this will give it a crisper crust). Bake loaf in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until golden, and transfer to a rack to cool (use a silpat or the equivalent if you have one).
This is based on a recipe from Epicurious.com, my fave cooking site! The parenthesis are (for the most part) my tips/additions/changes that I've used- after 4 times baking this I can say its a great one! I usually make just 1/2 this recipe because it makes two loaves or one super huge one. You can basically directly half the ingredients and it is perfect! ENJOY!