Is there anything better than a freshly baked, still warm loaf of French bread? Recently, Mike called me from the grocery store and asked if I wanted to sample some cheese. Duh! He then asked if I had baguette or something. I told him I’d make some.
We enjoyed the cheese with homemade French bread, and both Mike and Jake suggested I share the recipe. I use a bread machine to do most of the work, which makes it a very, very easy to make French bread recipe. Enjoy!
French Bread recipe:1 1/4 cups warm water 2 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour* 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
Place all ingredients in bread machine, in the order listed. Select the dough setting. I usually check the dough after about 5 – 10 minutes and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and corners.
When the machine has finished, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 10″ x 8″ rectangle, then roll them up, jellyroll style. Pinch the seams to seal.
Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with some cornmeal (about a tablespoon). Place the loaves on the baking sheet, seam side down. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Brush loaves with a tablespoon or two of milk. If you prefer your French bread less crusty, you can eggwash them instead. With a sharp knife, make short, shallow slashes diagonally across the bread.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
*For some reason, we don’t seem to have bread flour in Montreal, but I know it’s quite common in the US. I used all-purpose, unbleached flour and it worked just fine. A mix of 2 cups all-purpose and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat turned out well too. I’ve also used organic white flour, and found it denser, but still good.
So there you have it, an easy recipe for French bread. I would tell you how long it keeps for, but it’s never lasted more than 36 hours in my house!