French Bread Recipe – Easy and Delicious!



I LOVE BREAD! There, I said it. I think I’ve only met 1 other person in my life that doesn’t like bread. I think he must be an alien. I could eat bread for every meal and in between every meal. I like it with butter, cinnamon/sugar, honey, Nutella, and pretty much any other way that it can be served. But, I still don’t like Rye bread. There is nothing good about rye!

Yesterday I was outside dethatching the lawn. Ok, for those of you that have never done this, it sucks! If you have never dethatched your lawn, you don’t know what this means, and if you DO starting dethatching, it will take you forever because you’ve never done it before. Lesson learned….dethatch your lawn every year and it won’t take 2 days to do just your front lawn. During the process of dethatching, I realized that we have virtually no grass in the front yard. It’s mostly weeds. GREAT! No wonder it always looked bad. Oh well, a special thanks goes out to the dude at Home Depot who told us exactly how to fix it. $150 later, we are ready for a thick, green lawn that requires multiple mowings each week. I love being a responsible homeowner…NOT.

So, while I was dethatching the lawn I came up with the idea to make homemade french bread (like I didn’t already have enough going on). I went inside, found a great recipe online, and then threw this together. The recipe that I found was really great because it had step-by-step instructions. I decided to go ahead and take pictures during my prep and baking processes, so I will post them as well. But, check out this post to see an even better play by play for making this bread.

If you have the time, make a couple of loaves of homemade bread. Try it at least once in your life. It’s not tough. The difficult part is kneading the dough, and I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook, so it takes no time at all. Most stand mixers come with a dough hook, so use it if you have it. The other tricky part is getting the water temperature right. It can’t be too hot or too cold…it should feel a little warmer than room temperature. I don’t ever actually get a thermometer out to test the temperature, similar to the fact that I rarely time anything that I cook. I’m kinda lazy!

Perfect French Bread
Recipe from: Steamy Kitchen
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

4 cups flour (AP or Bread)
1 package (2 tsp.) active rapid rising yeast
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Add 3-3/4 cup flour to large bowl of stand mixer. Add 2 tsp. yeast to 1 side of bowl and 2 tsp. salt to other side of bowl. Create a well in the center and pour in 1-1/2 cups warm water. Using paddle attachment mix until dough forms a sticky mass.



Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Turn mixer back on and mix for another 3 minutes.



Take the remaining 1/4 cup flour and spread it onto a clean work surface. Turn dough out onto floured surface and kneed in flour until dough can be formed into a nice, non-sticky ball. NOTE: I only used about 2 tbsp. flour. Do NOT use all of the flour if you do not need it. You don’t want the bread to be dry and crumbly.

Spray a medium sized bowl with cooking spray and add the dough ball to the bowl and turn the ball over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.



NOTE: I turned on my oven and let it preheat. I then turned it off and placed my bowl on top of the oven so it doesn’t get too cold sitting on the counter.

When the bread has 15 minutes left to rise, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place your baking stone or baking sheet in the oven to warm.

Let dough rise until doubled (about 90 minutes).


Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.




Punch dough down, form into a ball again and then cut the dough in half using a pizza cutter. Place one of the halves back into the plastic covered bowl until ready to use. Shape one of the pieces into a rectangle.

Fold the long ends of the rectangle over each other. The 2 long ends should overlap slightly. Using the side of your hand and using a “karate chop” type motion, press the middle of the dough where the two ends overlap down so that it forms a nice indentation down the middle of the dough. (see Steamy Kitchen’s post for a pic of this. I forgot to take a picture of this step.)

Now pull up the long sides again and pinch them together in the center. Also, pull the short ends together and pinch to seal.



Turn dough over.



Place on lightly floured cutting board and cover with damp kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Gently place dough on heated pizza stone and cut 4 shallow, diagonal slits in the top of the bread using a sharp paring knife. Place dough in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. I used a thermometer to ensure the bread was done (190-210 degrees).



You can also add steam to the oven by spilling 1/4 cup water onto the bottom of the oven and closing the door while the bread is baking. This supposedly helps form the crust.

Remove bread from oven and let cool slightly before serving.



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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Garlic Bread – The perfect side to a perfect pan of lasagna « The Accidental Cook

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