Man, I love french bread. I go back and forth on the low carb diet thing. And I absolutely can recognize the value and the health benefits of lowering your carbohydrate intake. But I love bread too much to ever give it up completely. Bread is part of our culture as human beings. Even the word itself is synonymous with sustenance.. what a person needs to survive. Also, it’s delicious.
One thing I have really missed during social distancing has been eating at a restaurant. But making this french bread has let me pretend I am in a restaurant! While it bakes, the scent of warm yeasty goodness fills your house. It’s like a warm hug.
Why You’ll Love This French Bread
French bread is dense and chewy on the inside, courtesy of the gluten development that happens during several knead and rest cycles. And the outside is golden and crunchy, full of texture and flavor.
This french bread is perfect to eat warm and spread with softened butter. It also is fantastic dipped in seasoned olive oil, and makes a perfect vessel for your favorite sandwich toppings. We use this bread for BLT’s or subs.
Bread making can seem intimidating. But I assure you that recipe is easy! You just need a timer, a large bowl, and a kneading surface. There is no fancy technique. And it’s meant to be rustic, so any aesthetic imperfections will just add to authenticity.
How To Make Amazing French Bread At Home
Okay, let’s get to the fun part – making your bread! For this recipe, you’ll need all purpose flour, a packet of active dry yeast, sugar, and water. That’s it!
Proof the yeast-
I start by proofing my yeast in a large bowl. To proof yeast, simply add some sugar and warm water. The sugar feeds the yeast, and aids in the rising of the bread. Once the yeast mixture starts to look foamy, you will mix in your salt and flour, slowly, pulling flour down from the sides.
Knead and Let Rest
Once the dough has come together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it until it is smooth. The dough should not be sticky – if it is, add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time.
In a large bowl, pour your olive oil. Roll the dough ball in the oil until it’s covered, and place a damp towel over the bowl. Leave the bowl in a warm spot for one hour.
Your dough will have risen considerably. Remove it from the bowl and knead it again. This time for about three minutes consistently (Trust me, it’s worth it!)
Let it rest for one more hour and then knead once more for about three minutes.
Shape the Dough-
After you knead the dough for the last time shape your dough into two equally sized loaves, tucking the ends underneath. Slit the surface of each loaf 3-4 times.
At this point, preheat your oven and allow the dough to rest one more time. Twenty minutes is plenty. If you like an extra crispy crust, you can brush the tops of the dough with an two egg whites beaten with a teaspoon of water and a pinch of kosher salt.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until perfectly golden brown!
Easy, Crusty French Bread
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 5 cups all purpose flour adjust this amount up or down to get a smooth (not crumbly or dry) texture
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and water. Stir together and allow to proof for five minutes. Mixture will be foamy. Mix in salt
- One cup at a time, add flour to the liquid. Make sure the flour is fully incorporated before adding more. When mixture is fully combined (not sticky or crumbly), turn out onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Knead the dough until it is smooth.
- Add olive oil to a large bowl (a new, clean bowl), and roll your dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rest in a warm place for one hour.
- After one hour, the dough will be doubled in size. Turn out of the bowl and knead again, for three full minutes. Return the dough to the bowl and cover again for one more hour.
- Knead dough again for another three minutes.
- Shape your dough into two equally sized loaves, tucking the ends under for a smooth surface. Place your loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut three to four slits in the top of each loaf. Allow to rest for twenty minutes.
- While dough is resting, preheat oven to 400°F.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
How To Enjoy This Bread
- With Chili, or any type of soup
- With pasta dishes
- Sub sandwiches, Philly cheese steaks
- With roasted garlic butter in homemade garlic bread
- After a few days, you could use it for french toast, croutons, or bread pudding
- With oil, jam, or butter
I want your feedback!
If you made this recipe, tell me how it went! Drop me a message below and share your experience and how you made it your own!