approximately 6‑7 C bread flour

2 packages (or about 2 T) of dry yeast

1 T salt

3 C warm water




Put 6 C of flour in a bowl and mix in yeast and salt.  Add the water and stir up.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead adding only as much of the remaining cup of flour as necessary to keep the dough from being unhandleable (the less you need to add, the better the bread will be!).  Knead very well until really elastic.  Put in an ungreased bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let rise until doubled or tripled.  (I believe that it is important that no fat of any type ever be introduced to get as good a crust as possible.)  Sprinkle two ungreased cookie sheets liberally with corn meal.  Punch down the dough, turn out onto a floured surface, cut into four pieces.  Form a baguette from each quarter of the dough in the following way: pat out dough into a rough rectangle or oval whose longest dimension is approximately the length of the cookie sheet.  Roll up tightly along the long dimension and pinch to seal the roll all along the length.  (This way of forming the loaf is important; it creates a tensioned skin of the elastic dough which helps keep the loaf from spreading out on the pan while rising and baking.)  Place two loaves on each pan, cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper, and let rise until doubled or tripled.  Preheat the oven to 425.  Make diagonal slashes with a razor blade in the loaves and brush all over with cold water.  (Get them really wet, this results in a good crust.)  You will need to put the two pans on two shelves.  Bake for 10 minutes and change shelves for the two pans.  Bake for 10 minutes and take loaves off the pans and put right on the higher shelf.  Bake for 10 more minutes.  Cool on baking racks.  Freeze any loaves which you will not consume within 24 hours.