I have a new favorite thing to take to friends around the neighborhood; Homemade French Bread! The recipe makes 2 loaves so you can have one to share and one for your family.
All you do is make the bread and take out some homemade freezer jam from the freezer and presto you now have a new friend.
It may look and sound intimidating, but it is one of the easiest things you can make.
Homemade French Bread
- 3 C – Hot Tap Water
- 2 T – Instant Dry Yeast
- 2 T – Oil
- 2 T – Sugar
- 1 T – Salt
- 8 C – Flour
Throw all the ingredients, all at once, in a mixer and mix until combined. Knead for 7-10 minutes, by hand or in the mixer. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes for half recipe; 20-25 minutes full recipe. Place on cooling rack.
Note: This recipe does very well halved; all the pictures are with a half-recipe. A full-recipe would just make bigger loaves.
After kneading, split the dough in half and put one half aside.
Roll the dough out in a rectangle, about the length of a cookie sheet. Then, roll up the dough just as you would cinnamon rolls. This helps get all the bubbles out of the dough. Pinch the dough at the seams.
Lift the ends and pinch it together, bringing it to the underside of the dough.
Place the loaf on a silicone mat
, parchment paper, or just a greased cookie sheet with the seam side down. Take the other half of the dough and do the same as the first. (Roll out, roll up, and pinch together.)
Score the dough with a sharp knife in what ever pattern you like best (I do a straight line, or slanted slashes or my new favorite look is x’s). Cover the pan with a towel
and place in the perfect rising environment
and have it rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Cook bread in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes for half recipe; 20-25 minutes full recipe.
Note: Only do this step if you are brushing the top with butter. When you have 7 minutes left on your timer, take out the bread and brush with salted butter, optional.
I only do the brushed butter 1/3 of the time. The butter gives it a shiny glossy top, where no butter gives it a rustic look (which I actually prefer). It just depends on the look you are going for. I use 1 tablespoon of melted butter for a half-recipe and 1-1/2 tablespoons for a full-recipe.
Note: This step is only if you are brushing with butter. Place back in the oven and cook the remaining 7 minutes.
If you are going for the rustic look don’t take it out with 7 minutes remaining. Just leave in the oven and cook the entire amount of time suggested. When the loaves are done I immediately place them on a cooling rack. Below is a picture of the shiny gloss bread and the rustic bread.
Time to wrap one loaf up in a towel and run it next door. Enjoy!