Aunt Alisa is our go-to person for bread making.  She has a sweet dinner roll recipe and a butterhorn recipe that we often use with meals, but she thought we needed a French bread, too.  No one is complaining that we have a new bread staple.  We enjoy it by itself, but we have fun topping it with various ingredients including Nana’s French bread topping.


  • 1 package or 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (1100F to 1150F)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cold water


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of flour.  Beat until blended.
  • Stir in enough remaining flour to form stiff dough.
  • Place on a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes).
  • Put in a greased bowl turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
  • Punch dough down, then return to bowl. Cover and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Punch dough down, then turn out onto a floured surface. Shape into a 16 x 2½-inch loaf with tapered ends.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal over a greased baking sheet. Place loaf on baking sheet.
  • Cover and let rise until doubled (about 25 minutes).
  • Beat egg white and cold water, then brush over the top of the dough.
  • With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 inches apart across the top of the loaf.
  • Bake until golden brown for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.