Barry Harmon is a frequent poster on the alt.bread.recipes news group. Recently he posted this recipe for French Bread
32 oz bread flour
20 oz water
1 Tbs salt
1 packet yeast
It sounded easy so I decided to try it. I mixed the dough in the Kitchen Aid mixer and put it in a plastic tub with a loose lid to rise. After it doubled, I divided it into two pieces and made a fougasse and a batard. The fougasse is a ladder bread with holes in it so it can be pulled apart and eaten as an appetizer. I patted out the dough onto a sheet of parchment in a sheet pan, then covered it with olive oil. I used kitchen shears to cut a leaf design in the flat dough, pulled the holes open and ground Italian spices over the whole thing. A little kosher salt went on last for that salty crunch.
It looks like I didn't pull the openings open enough. Next time I will. Meanwhile the batard was rising and ready to go into the hot oven. I washed the dough with water and sprinkled raw sesame seeds on top, then cut the dough with my new tomato knife that viince suggested to me. It works wonderful. (Next time I will angle the blade a little to cut less deep.) Here is the batard baking, finished and the crumb.
It looks like I didn't roll the batard as tightly as I should. Not too bad for a simple and easy French bread.
Here it all is as we got ready to try the fougasse with some olive oil for dipping, some cheese and a little wine.
Thanks, Barry. We enjoyed the bread.
One note. This bread does not keep well. Bake it and eat it. Although, I did freeze half a loaf while we went away for a week. It made fine toast when we got back.