Monday, March 8, 2010

French Bread

I tried french bread for the first time when we were visiting my Brother-in-law's place. There is a small grocery store near their place where they sell fresh 'French Bread'. It was still hot when they brought it home and all of us broke the loaf and ate as a snack. That is when I decided I wanted to make a good french bread. I did try once a recipe from one of the website, but wasn't very satisfied with the results. This one, is a keeper recipe. This recipe is from 'Bread Machine Baking' by Better Homes and Gardens. Even though I used the bread machine to knead the dough, I have given the steps to do it by hand here.

  • Bread Flour - 3 cups
  • Luke warm water - 1 cup
  • Salt - 3/4 tsp
  • Dry yeast - 1 tsp
  • Cornmeal - 1 - 2 tsp for sprinkling on the baking sheet.
For Brushing the loaves before baking: (See notes)

  • Milk - 1 TBSP
  • Olive oil - 1 TBSP

In a large bowl, combine warm water, salt and yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or till frothy. Slowly start adding flour and make the dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes and let it sit in the bowl covered with a clean kitchen towel for an hour or till double.
Grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal and set aside. Punch down the dough and divide the dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a rectangle of 10 X 8. From the longer side, start rolling the dough into a tight spiral. Pinch the ends and taper. (I didn't do a great job of this) Place on the baking sheet. Repeat the same for the other bread too and place them 3 - 4 inches apart. Brush them with the milk and olive oil mixture and cover loosely with an aluminum foil and let it sit in a warm place for about 30 - 40 minutes. Towards the end of this second rise time, preheat the oven to 375 F. When the oven is preheated, with a sharp knife, slash diagonal slashes on the loaf about 1/4 " deep. Don't deflate the dough. Place the baking sheet in the oven and spritz water on the walls avoiding the heating element. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and brush with more milk and oil mixture. Bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes or till the bread sounds hollow when tapped and is golden on the top. Mine was done at 20 + 15 minutes. Serve warm with soup of your choice. In my place, as soon as the bread comes out, everyone wants to taste it. Two loaves of french bread are gone in 30 minutes between my house and my neighbor's. My kid wanted to share the loaf with her friends.

I am sending this bread to 'Yeast Spotting' hosted here

Original recipe said to brush with egg white mixed with water. Since I do not want to use egg, I used a mixture of milk and oil.

Happy Baking!! Pin It


  1. Looks like right out of the bakery - I can smell it now!

  2. wow, perfect french bread! looks awesome :)

  3. Hmmm... .your breads looks so yummy.... I so badly wano try them.... i wonder when i'll be able to bake one....

  4. Looks perfect ..Must have tasted the best !!

  5. Wowww wat a great work!!fantastic..

  6. Hello BB! This French bread is so puffed up perfectly and must be crunchy! I'd like to have the bread to dip it in cheese spread!

  7. The bread look perfectly baked!!!! Fantastic!

  8. Perfectly baked bread..;-)) love it with any soup..

  9. French Bread looks oven fresh and awesome!

  10. Don't feel bad about using the bread machine. I used mine for kneading the dough all of the time until I got a stand mixer.

    The bread looks fabulous. I bet it was nice and airy on the inside!

  11. If I had a bread machine - I would use one. Nothing to be ashamed of! Especially not when it produces bread as delicious as this.

  12. Champa! Bread flour isnt available with my grocer.. Can I substritute this with APF in the same proportion???

  13. MomChef,
    Yes. You might use APF in same amount.


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