I have this recipe that was written on a piece of paper, so I have no clue who to give credit to. I do know, however, that it is the easiest and the recipe that always comes out amazing! Sometimes, instead of forming into one loaf, I make about six to eight smaller pistolettes for sandwiches.
Easy French Bread
1 3/4 c. warm water
1 T melted margarine or butter
1 1/2 T sugar
1 package yeast
2 tsp. salt
3 1/2-4 c. flour (start with 3 1/2, add more if needed)
Mix first three ingredients, then sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 10 minutes. Add in the flour, using more or less as needed.
Leave to rise until doubled in size (a few hours), then spray or grease a cookie sheet. Shape the dough into a loaf-ish shape, and allow to double again.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a pan full of hot water on the bottom of the oven (this keeps the bread from drying out). Bake for 15 minutes, then lower to 350 and bake for 25-30 minutes more.
Optional: With about 10 minutes to go (it's easy to forget this part!), brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/seeds/or not.