Place flour, dark brown soft sugar, warm water, salt, olive oil and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into two loaves. Place the loaves seam side down on a chopping board generously sprinkled with dry polenta. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise, until doubled in volume about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the risen loaves with egg mixture. Make a single long, quick cut down the centre of the loaves with a sharp knife. Gently shake the chopping board to make sure that the loaves are not sticking. If they stick, use a spatula or pastry knife to loosen. Slide the loaves onto a baking tray with one quick but careful motion.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Very easy to follow recipe. Made this to go with some home made ham and potato soup for dinner. I read some of the other reviews advice about cutting the dough deep, although I think I cut mine loaves too deep! Never mind, sure they taste the same. Only thing I did different was to add a cup of water to the bottom of the oven to crisp up the crust. - 12 Jan 2013