If you have a bread maker then go ahead and follow the directions as printed on the Allrecipes site
If you don't have a bread maker, don't feel left out! Just keep on reading....
I realize you might think I'm crazy to say this is easy, but believe me I have tried and tried to make good bread to no avail! I figured it just wasn't in my wheelhouse and decided to stick with the frozen bread dough...UNTIL I found this recipe. I don't use a breadmaker, and I still find it easy. It turns out perfect every time! Few ingredients, only 1 kneading for about 10 mins, and let rise a couple times. Sorry to say, but you have to put some muscle into good homemade bread it IS worth the effort!
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour (I like the King Arthur Brand Bread Flour best)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for bout 15 minutes. The mixture should look frothy like in this picture...
DO NOT add the salt at this time or you will kill the yeast - that would be sad!
Now add the salt and flour and combine to form a dough...like so (mad rhyming skills haha)
Now it's time to take out some aggression! Flour your work surface lightly and get some of that flour on your hands too! Turn your dough out onto your work space and KNEAD. Knead for at least 10 minutes. Think of something (or someone) that frustrates you and take it all out on that dough! The dough will be a little sticky at first, so keep adding flour as needed to the work surface and your hands, but don't overdo it! Kneading will work out all that stickiness and aggression too! Multi-tasking - Love it! If you have a stand mixer and a dough hook you can let that do all the kneading until no longer sticky.
Next place the dough in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the dough with the grease. Cover and let rise for at least 30 mins or until doubled in size
More aggression? No worries! Now that the dough has doubled - give it a good punch!!
On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough into a 16x12 inch rectangle
No need to get a ruler out here! Just eyeball it - close is good enough - no worries!
Cut dough in half, creating two 8x12 inch (approximately) rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper ends - and now you have 2 baguettes!
Place baguettes at least 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet (I prefer to use parchment paper, but buttering up the cookie sheet works well too). Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf.
Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.