French bread is a staple around here. We pretty much eat it at every meal. And nothing beats the smell of baking bread. It's fairly simple to make, and you can use this recipe as a base to make stuffed breads or dinner rolls. This recipe makes 2 loaves of French bread.
These are the ingredients you'll need:
- 1 5/16 oz package of yeast
- 2 1/4 cups of warm water (about 100°)
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 6 1/2 to 7 cups of unbleached flour
First you'll need to add the warm water to a mixing bowl with the sugar.
Sprinkle your yeast over the top. (Or just dump it all in at once like I did here).
Let the bowl sit for about 5 minutes. It will get all foamy on the top and will look like the following picture.
Add in the salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Next add in 6 cups of flour, and let the dough knead in your mixer with the dough hook for 4 or 5 minutes. (Or alternatively you can knead this all by hand).
If your dough is sticky, add in extra flour, a quarter cup at a time, up to 7 cups total.
It will be slightly smooth. Flip it out of your bowl, oil the bowl, and then place it back in the bowl to rise. (You can use a second clean bowl if you wish, but I hate to dirty extra dishes, so the same bowl it is for me. It really doesn't make a difference.)
Rub a little olive oil over the top of your bread so it doesn't dry out, and cover it with a clean, warm, damp towel.
Let it rise for about an hour. It should be doubled in size.
Once it has doubled, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut the dough in half.
Preheat your oven to 200°.
Once you have your dough cut, lightly flour the top and roll the dough out into a square-ish shape.
Roll it up from the end, you'll have a long rolled up piece of dough.
Transfer it to a pan lined with parchment paper. (Mine is a bit long, so use whatever pan works for you.)
Using a sharp knife cut a few shallow slits in the top of the dough.
Turn your oven OFF. (It should have been preheated to 200° at this point.) Place your bread in the warm oven, and let it proof for 30 minutes.
It should be a little larger, and most of the wrinkles smoothed out.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Beat 1 egg, then brush the bread with it, using a pastry brush.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.
Once it's cooked, cut it as soon as you can without getting blisters on your fingertips and enjoy!