Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy-Peasy French Bread

French Bread

I am NOT a baker. At all. I don't have the patience for it and I hate when you go to so much work only to have it fail. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to throw bread out because it hasn't risen and/or is hard as a rock. Some recipes are worth the risk though. The feeling of cutting through the crusty top and reaching the soft center is such an awesome thing.

This recipe is one of those- totally worth the risk and a lot easier than you'd ever imagine french bread would be. While it requires a lot of time, very little effort is needed and the end results are amazing.

French Bread

-Mix together 3 cups flour and 5 tsp yeast, set aside.

-In a small saucepan mix together 2 1/2 cups cold water, 1 Tbs sugar, 1 Tbs salt, and 1 Tbs oil. Heat on medium until water reaches 115 or just above room temperature. (When you touch it with a knuckle it should feel just barely warm)

 -Pour warmed mixture into flour mixture and mix for 30 seconds on low followed by 3 minutes on high.

-Add up to 4 cups of flour until dough is soft and pulling clean away from the sides. Add SLOWLY; I only needed 2 1/2 cups flour.

-Knead bread for 10-12 minutes. You can do this in a mixer, I just prefer to do it by hand.

-Put into a greased bowl and turn over once to evenly distribute the grease.

-Let rise for 1 hour on stove OR warm 2 cups of water in the microwave until boiling. Open the door and set the water off to the side. Place bowl with dough in it into the microwave and shut the door. This helps control the humidity and temperature and the dough will be risen in 45 minutes.

-After dough has doubled in size, punch it down, turn it out onto a greased baking pan and divide into 2 equal balls.

-Now, you can roll the dough and fold it up OR you can do my (cheater's) route and form the balls into loaf shaped masses.

-Gash tops with cuts about 1/8"-1/4" deep and 2" apart.
-Then walk away for another hour (I usually heat the oven at this point) and allow dough to double again.

-After the hour is over, pop the bread into an oven preheated to 375 and bake for ~40 minutes (mine were ready after 30 minutes)

-Let cool and enjoy!


  1. Any thoughts on how it would work/be with half wheat flour?

    1. (Christina). I have made tons of bread before and I have made half wheat bread using a similar recipe. You will most likely need to let the bread rise a little longer because wheat bread is denser. What I do when I make half wheat breads is I add the wheat flour first then slowly add the white flour in. Once the dough comes off the edges of the bowl or is just ever so slightly sticky, I pull it out, and I knead it. Then I let it double in size. Depending on the amount of wheat to white flour ratio will affect the time the dough will need to double. If it doesn't have enough time to rise, then the bread will "rip" when it bakes (you should be able to softly touch the dough and see it rebound). It still tastes good, but it just doesn't look pretty. With more practice, you will begin to recognize the stages easier. One baker recommends letting the dough go through all the rising stages and then watch it deflate so you can tell what stage your dough is in because each batch will be a little different since flour has different consistences.

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    3. DON'T add more liquid with this recipe. My mom always does half and half with wheat and white flour on this recipe and it works great.More liquid will through it off :)

    4. I only adjust the liquid depending on how the flour feels. I have a grinder at home and I get different sometimes I have to adjust the amount of liquid with my recipes when I do half wheat.

  2. Replies
    1. Hey Heather, long time no see :) I would recommend using regular yeast. Rapid-rise wouldn't work for this one.