Nothing is better than homemade bread, but a fresh hot loaf of French bread is divine. Here is the recipe I use all the time with my bread machine.
3 cups all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups hot water
1 Tbs. olive oil
Select the dough cycle. Place dry ingredients in pan and select start. Add water and oil. Once dough forms a smooth ball (you may have to add a little flour or water depending on humidity) close lid and allow cycle to run completely.
Once finished remove dough from machine and knead lightly on a floured surface. Dough should be smooth and not be sticky. Shape into a long loaf and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to raise until doubled in size in a warm draft free place, approximately one hour.
Bake loaf in a preheated 400° oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush top with butter, if desired.
We love to use any leftovers to make sandwiches. Best grilled cheese ever! Also French Toast.