Friday, August 12, 2011

French Bread

I am a carb-o-holic. I have admitted this before and if you see most of the things that I post this fact is very evident. The smell of fresh baked bread is one of my favorite smells. Really if I were a candle maker I would be working hard to try and make a candle that actually smelled like baking bread. The only thing I love more that the smell of fresh baked bread is eating it. Taking a nice big slice of warm bread and eating it with or without butter and homemade jam is seriously a small slice of heaven to me!

I have been wanting to make this french bread for a few days now. I ended up getting a headache and what should one do when they have a headache? Well naturally I went for a short run, took a hot shower, and made bread. My favorite part of this was obviously the bread! This bread is so basic yet the taste and texture of it are so amazing. The egg wash makes it slightly crispy on the outside and oh so soft and chewy on the inside. This is definitely a recipe I am going to be making again and again.

*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. 

2 ¼ c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
5 ½ -6 cups flour-stirred before measured
Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this proof—or sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well. Add in 2 1/2 -3 more cups of flour. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too stick – but be careful not to add too much flour. Knead for a few minutes.
Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9×13 rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal, allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with second part of dough. With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at an angle on the top of each. Cover lightly; allow to rise 30 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe


  1. Yum! I will have to try this! I'm taking some medications for mono right now and the pharmicist told me when I asked what my diet should be like, "Eat no carbs and no sugar." what? Like Brian Regan said, "And no happiness!"

  2. It is always nice to meet other carboholics with a penchant for fresh bread.....mmmmmmmm

  3. Great recipe. I love homemade bread. And I love the smell of bread baking... so good.

  4. Nothing better than the smell of bread baking in the oven. Your loaf looks fabulous~

  5. That bread looks beautiful! It rose perfectly! Mmm I love fresh homemade French bread so much!

  6. I completely agree with you - I'm surprised that there aren't more candles that smell like fresh bread - I think they'd sell like hotcakes!

    Your loaf looks absolutely perfect and I'm sure filled your house with that beautiful bread smell =)

  7. Also a carb lover... in the last week bagels, pretzels, challah, quick bread, 2 cakes, onion bread and muffins have come out of my kitchen... this will be next :)

  8. The saying "Bread is the staff of life" needs to be revised to "Carbs are the staff of life" :-D

    This bread looks amazing! And I agree on using texture as a guideline not the recipes exact measurements. Good call on that :-)

  9. Angie, I too share your obsession with fresh baked bread! And this recipe looks like a keeper. Here in New York, it's a good rainy day to warm the house up with some homemade bread!

  10. I made this and it is truly a winner at our house! I'll be making this again! (I even did a post on this) :)