European-Style Hearth Bread
These batards (or Italian-style loaves), featuring a crunchy crust and chewy interior marked by irregular holes, are a perfect accompaniment to any meal. They also make great sandwiches. The poolish (or starter), made the night before, gives the bread its excellent texture and flavor; while not difficult to make, this bread does take some time, so plan accordingly.
Like any loaf made without fat, these become stale very quickly. So bake and eat them the same day or, if they're day-old, reheat them for 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.