We had half a bottle of red wine left after making a large batch of spaghetti sauce, so I decided to experiment with it in bread. I was hoping for a nice pink color to the bread, but it was more of a purple-beige. The bread itself was good, with just a hint of the Cabernet Sauvignon flavor. It was perfect for dipping in seasoned olive oil. I have a baguette pan I use when making French bread, but this would also make up well in a long loaf or a round "boule", a term for round artisan French loaves.
BREAD MACHINE: Place ingredients (except yeast) in bread machine pan in the order listed, and make a well in the top of the flour. Place yeast in the well. Set the machine for French setting - it has longer rising times which French bread requires. Operate according to manufacturer's instructions.
STAND MIXER: Warm the wine to 100° and combine it with the water, salt, oil, 1 cup of flour, and sugar in the mixing bowl. Blend well and let set 30 minutes until bubbly.
Using the dough hook, add flour 1 cup at a time until it forms a nice soft ball of dough that is not too heavy and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. You may want to add the last cup of flour only 1/3 cup at a time so you don't get too heavy a ball of dough. Allow mixer to knead the dough about 3-4 minutes until smooth and elastic. Only if necessary to prevent sticking, sparingly add extra flour until the correct dough is achieved.
Remove dough hook and cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot (80-85°) to rise for 1 hour. Punch dough down and if desired, allow to rise again another hour.
Punch down the dough and let rest 15 minutes. Form into a loaf: a long log, or a round ball, or 2 long baguettes. Do this with your hands oiled with olive oil, and maybe a little oil on your workspace. Shape the long loaves by rolling back and forth on the workspace, stretching the dough to the desired length.
Grease your pan(s): a large baking sheet for one long loaf, a round dish for a round loaf, or a baguette pan. Sprinkle the pans with a little cornmeal. Place the loaf in the pan, cover with a light towel or plastic wrap, and return to a warm place until size of loaf doubles. This may take 40-60 minutes. French bread has less yeast in it than other breads, and benefits from longer rising times.
When loaf has doubled in size, preheat oven to 375° for 15 minutes. If desired, make diagonal slits in the top of the long loaves or a cross on the top of the round loaf. Place in center of oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Internal temperature should register at least 205° with an instant-read thermometer. Remove loaf from pan and cool on rack before slicing.
Different size loaves require different baking times, the round loaf needing the longest. Watch the loaves carefully after 35 minutes. Using the thermometer really helps.