Easy French Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
N0 MIXER NEEDED for this Easy French Bread. Light and Fluffy it's the perfect bread for dipping in soups or slicing and toasting up as garlic bread. You'll use this recipe again and again.
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 2 large loaves
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups warm water (temp of a babies bath water)
  • 2 tbsp yeast (can use active dry yeast or instant yeast)
  • 2½ tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5½-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • *Optional: 1 egg+1 tbsp water for an egg wash (this gives the bread a shiny finish as pictured...I don't do this unless I'm trying to impress someone, not worth wasting an egg if it's just for my family. ;)
Instructions
  1. In a large plastic mixing bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar, allow to proof for 5-10 minutes or until yeast gets foamy and bubbly. If using instant yeast you don't need to wait for it to proof.
  2. Next, add the salt and olive oil. Mix together with a fork and then add 2½ cups of flour. Mix really well with a fork or whisk, until there are no lumps of flour.
  3. Add three more cups of flour and stir it in with the fork. It will get very thick. Once you've stirred it as much as you can with the fork, use your hand to begin kneading the bread. You may need to occasionally sprinkle the dough with a small amount of flour to keep your hand from sticking to the dough. Try not to exceed adding more than ½ cup total as you sprinkle when needed.
  4. Knead by hand for about 5-6 minutes or until dough has a nice springy and smooth consistency.
  5. Form the dough into a ball at the bottom of your bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
  6. At this point you can do one of two things. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes and knead it down and let it rise for 30 more minutes. Or, you can knead it down every 10-15 minutes for an hour. Both methods yield great results. It is also okay if you let it rise the whole hour before kneading down but the gluten will be broken down a little differently if you do it multiple times in the hour and the dough will have a less yeasty taste.
  7. Once you have reached an hour of total rise time you are ready to roll out the dough and form it into loaves.
  8. Divide the dough in half and roll one piece out into a 9x13 type shape. Follow the step by step pictures above to see how this is done. Once it is a 9x13 you roll it up and place it on a prepared baking sheet. (I use a silpat sprinkled with corn meal. You can use parchment paper or cooking spray as other options). There are also these cool French Bread Pans.
  9. Once the loaf is on the baking sheet take a sharp knife or a bread baker's lame and put slits on the top of the loaf. Repeat for second loaf.
  10. Cover the two loaves loosely with a hand towel or a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. You don't want the plastic to stick to the bread as it rises. If it sticks you risk the loaf deflating when you peel off the plastic wrap. Once covered allow bread to rise for 30 minutes before baking.
  11. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you want to do an egg wash you do that right before baking. To do the egg wash you whisk together an egg and 1 tbsp of water. Use a pastry brush to very gently brush it onto the risen loaf.
  12. Bake bread for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees.
  13. **To give a nice crust to the outside of the bread you can place a small pan of hot water in the bottom of your oven or a few ice cubes. I usually use ice cubes. It's a great trick for adding steam to the beginning of the baking process.
Recipe by Real Life Dinner at https://reallifedinner.com/easy-french-bread/