I made this French Bread recipe this past week in memory of my grandmother. It was the fourth anniversary of her passing and I was feeling down. I made this while thinking of her. Although kneading is sometimes hard work, it was very soul soothing this day. My grandmother used to bake yummy things all the time. I wish she was still here to teach me all her recipes <3.
I found this recipe on all recipes. It was pretty straight forward. I used some of the suggestions from people who have tried it already and made some changes.
This was my second attempt at making bread and it turned out quite good. I thought French bread would be more difficult to bake for some reason, but this was a really easy recipe.
Simple French Bread Recipe
I started by mixing together the yeast, sugar and half a cup of warm water. I put the bowl in a warm spot (bread dough rises better in warm places) and I covered it with a kitchen towel. I waited for the yeast to activate, about 10 minutes. In the mean time, I oiled a larger bowl and set it aside. I used Pam to grease two large baking sheets and sprinkled them with cornmeal.
When the yeast was ready, I added the remaining ingredients. I alternated between the rest of the water and flour. I used a wooden spoon until the dough came together, then just used my hands to incorporate the remaining flour and form it into a ball. I turned the dough out onto my floured counter-top and kneaded for about 10 minutes.
I formed the dough into a ball and placed it in the previously oiled bowl. I turned it over once to coat all sides then covered the bowl again and placed in a warm spot. I let the dough rise until it doubled in size, about an hour. In the meantime, I fed the kids and had one of them fall asleep on me. I love baking bread because of all these little breaks, where I can get other things done too!
After an hour, I punched the dough down in the bowl and divided it in half. I turned out both halves onto the floured counter-top and shaped each into a ball. I covered and let them rest about 10 minutes.
I rolled each half of the dough into a rectangle. Then I rolled it up from the long side. I used a bit of water to seal the edges and taper the ends. I made about 4-5 diagonal cuts across each loaf. Then I placed them on the prepared baking sheets and covered with a towel. I let them rise again until almost doubled, about 35 minutes.
After 35 minutes, I brushed the loaves with the scrambled egg and placed them in the oven for 20 minutes. I brushed them again with egg and baked them for another 15 – 20 minutes, until they were golden brown and the inserted toothpick came out clean. I also switched the pans in the oven (put the one from the bottom shelf on the top one, and the top one on the bottom) so they could bake evenly.
All done! I transferred the loaves to a wire rack and let them cool. We had bread with our tuna melts that night and pb&jam sandwiches for lunch the next day. I stored the loaves in an old pillowcase that we don’t use, at room temperature. I don’t have a bread bag yet, but I read about this trick with the pillowcase and it seems to work!
Simple French Bread Recipe
- 5 cups flour
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 Tbsp cornmeal
- 1 egg
- In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar and half a cup of warm water. Put the bowl in a warm spot (dough rises better in warm places) and cover with a kitchen towel. Let the yeast activate until foamy – about 10 minutes. In the mean time, oil a larger bowl and set aside. Grease two large baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal; set aside.
- Add salt to the yeast mixture, then alternatively add the rest of the water and flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough comes together, then use your hands to incorporate the remaining flour and form a ball. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it in the previously oiled bowl. Turn over once to coat all sides.. Cover the bowl and place in a warm spot. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn out onto a floured surface and shape each half into a ball. Cover and let rest about 10 minutes.
- Roll out each half of the dough into a rectangle. Roll up from the long side. Moisten the edge with water to seal and taper the ends. Make about 4 diagonal cuts across each loaf. Place on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise until almost doubled, about 35 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. After the loaves have risen, brush with the egg and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes, until inserted toothpick/bamboo stick come out clean. You may want to switch the pans as well, if you have one on the bottom shelf and one on the top in the oven, so they get evenly done.
- All done! Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
Update: I’ve recently made this recipe into four smaller loaves instead of two regular sized ones. You can wrap them in plastic wrap, freeze the extra ones and take them out as needed. They also fit in the big freezer Ziploc bags in this size.