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I am finally sharing one of my favorite new recipes with you! This French bread is delicious! And, you won’t believe how easy it is to make French bread at home. Not only is it easy, but it will leave your house smelling just like a French bakery. I have to warn you, though, that once you start making this, your family will want more.
The Ease of French Bread Making
I’ve made this French bread recipe many times. Each time, though, I feel like I learn more and it gets even better.
One of the best things about making your own bread is that you know exactly what’s in it. No preservatives or chemicals. In fact, the only ingredients are yeast, water, oil, flour, a little sugar, and salt.
I make this French bread in my stand mixer. After a little trial and error, I’ve learned it’s best to use my flat beater until I’ve added all the flour, then changing over to my dough kneading hook for kneading it.
Initially, I used my steam oven and the pans shown below to bake my bread since I didn’t have a French bread baking pan. I tried finding French bread pans that would be short enough to go into my steam oven, but I couldn’t. So, now I bake my loaves in a French bread baking pan in the regular oven.
So Let’s Get Baking!
I use filtered water that I warm in my microwave for 1 minute which is usually around 95º-100º degrees. I mix the water, yeast, and sugar in my mixing bowl and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
Even if using instant yeast, I still take this step to make sure my yeast is fresh and active. This is how it should look after 5-10 minutes.
Then, I place the bowl in my mixer and add the beater hook. I add the oil and salt and mix it for a moment. After that, I add the flour one cup at a time, mixing it well between each cup.
Once I’ve added and mixed all the flour (usually 5 cups), I attach the kneading hook and knead the dough well. When the dough pulls from the wall of the bowl and has a smooth appearance, it’s ready for the first rise.
If you’re unsure if it’s ready, pinch a piece of dough and it should stretch like this:
Cover the bowl with a towel or dinner plate for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
After the first rising, punching the dough down a few times and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface.
Cut the dough in half, in two equal portions. Roll each half into a long, thin loaf. Place it in your baking pan and make three slits in the dough. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Brush with a mixture of egg whites and water before placing in the oven.
Bake until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
There You Have it! Your Own Fresh French Bread!
How easy was that? Once you start making this bread, you won’t want to stop. It’s just so good and easy to make.
I suggest getting these bread storage bags.
They are around $5 per set and keep my bread fresh and soft for several days. I’ve purchased them from Sur La Table (in store) and Amazon (online).
- 2 cups water
- 4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 5 – 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with the sugar. Wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate and bubble up.
- Add oil and salt to yeast mixture. Mix well. Add flour, one cup at a time, kneading well in between. Knead until smooth and elastic. If you are using a mixer, the dough will pull away from the walls of the bowl and look like a ball. Don’t add too much flour or the dough will become dry.
- Cover the dough with a dish towel or inverted plate and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
- Punch dough down and recover. Let rise again for 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from bowl and place onto countertop lightly dusted with flour. Divide dough in half and gently roll each half into a long skinny loaf. Carefully lay the loaf onto a french bread pan or cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. With a sharp knife, make 3-4 slashes diagonally on each loaf.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise a third time, for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly brush loaves with a mixture of egg white and 1 tsp of water. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.