This recipe is also from The Food Nanny. It's an easy recipe that tastes great. Next time I make it I think I'm going add some herbs to the dough.
1 1/2 cups warm (105-115 degrees) water, divided
1 1/2 Tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
3 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons salt
melted butter for brushing on loaves (optional)
**For Italian herb version add the following to dough before shaping
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the water, the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir just to combine and cover with plastic wrap or a plate. Let the mixture stand about 5 minutes or until bubbly or foamy.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer or food processor, blend the flour, salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar, and the yeast mixture. Gradually add water, up to the remaining 1 cup, and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle. (If the dough ends up too sticky, add a little more flour.) Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes. Grease a baguette pan and place the loaves in the pan. (If you don't have a baguette pan you can just use a cookie sheet. It will just not have the perfect shape, but thats what I did.) Score the loaves down the middle (make a shallow cut) cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes or until they have a hollow sound when tapped with a knife.
**If desired, brush the tops of the loaves with butter halfway through baking. For a softer crust, brush with butter when they have finished baking.