I broke out the bread machine on Wednesday for the first time in quite a long stretch of time. I'm really hoping to start using it a lot more frequently from now on - I'd like to stop buying any bread from the store, so we'll see how it goes. I tried a recipe from 250 Best American Bread Machine Baking Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, which I've checked out from the library. There are so many awesome sounding recipes in this book - I'm excited to try some more! This recipe for french bread was very good, even with old bread flour and old yeast! (I had just enough of each to use for this before breaking out my new stuff... so I couldn't waste it!) The bread was very soft and moist on the inside with a great french bread texture and flavor. The crust was quite crisp... as I know french bread is supposed to be, but actually next time I think I'll just put the machine on the basic cycle with the light crust setting rather than the french cycle with light crust setting to see if it makes the crust a little less crisp.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon sugar
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select French Cycle. Makes a 2 pound loaf.