1⅔cups buttermilkAlternative: 1⅓ cups milk (in place of every 1⅔ cups buttermilk)
3tspsaltnon-iodized, coarse or sea salt
3tbspVital Wheat Glutenoptional (for more chewiness)
1tspactive, dry yeast
1tbspolive oilfor baking sheet
2tbspcorn meal mixfor baking sheet
1mediumeggOptional: Egg white whisked with 1 tsp water (only if softer crust is desired)
½cupwaterOptional: water for oven (for steaming)
Place all "Main Ingredients" in their order into the bread-maker (liquids first).
Start the Bread maker using the standard "dough" setting. If using a Zojirushi brand, that setting is usually course # 11 (dough).
Shaping the Dough
After the dough is ready, remove it from the Bread maker and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Make it into a rectangular shape about 24 inches long and about 8-12 inches wide.
You can make either one long loaf or cut it now into two for 12-inch (max) to 18-inch (longer, thinner) loaves. The longer, thinner loaves are more traditionally French.
From the long side, roll it up to maintain the long length. Pinch the seam & ends closed (using water as a sealant).
Baking Sheet Preparation
Lightly oil a baking sheet (olive oil or cooking spray). Sprinkle the sheet lightly with corn meal (maybe about 2 Tbsp.). Lay each dough loaf onto the baking sheet, seam side down. If there are 2 loaves, space them apart by about 3-inches minimum. Cut angled slits on the top, about 3-inches apart and ½-inch deep.
Cover the dough loaf/loaves with a cloth for about 40 minutes to rise about double in size. About 15 minutes before this rest period is done, set the oven to preheat to 375°F.
When rest period is done, prepare for the type of desired crust. For crusty results, lightly brush the top(s) with olive oil. Or, for softer crust, brush the top(s) with water (or with egg white whisked with 1 tsp water.
If your oven bottom is designed for allowing it, pour the referenced "water for oven" there. Then, bake dough for about 30-35 minutes.
Serving After Baking
Remove bread from the oven and place onto a wire rack (or other surface for aerated cooling) to cool for about 10 minutes at least.
IF SERVING NOW: For dipping in a seasoned oil, you can slice a loaf anywhere from about 1/3 to 2/3-inch thick. For just standard French Bread slices, consider about 1-inch thick.