French Bread

Make a smooth batter with the flour and water

From 1913:

One quart water, 2 ½ pounds French bread flour, 2 tablespoonfuls sugar, 2 tablespoonfuls salt, 1 yeast cake softened in a quarter cup lukewarm water.
Make a smooth batter with the flour and water. Let stand 20 minutes then add yeast, sugar, salt and flour to make a smooth dough. Keep at 82 degrees Fahrenheit until risen. Mould by rolling with the hands to desired shape and one half desired size. Set with cloth between each roll smooth side down. When risen again place on baking sheet, smooth side up; give several slanting cuts and bake in baker’s oven with steam. If no steam is available, brush with starch water.
Second – The texture of divinity depends as much upon the degree to which the sugar is boiled as upon the beating. It is frequently over or under boiled (by hit-or-miss makers), and this affects the time needed to attain the right consistency in beating. Beat until light and fluffy, but not until it becomes hard and stiff.