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Easy French Bread

My husband says I should call this Freedom Bread. But I just can’t do it. French bread is a classic. One of the foods I would want if I was ever on a deserted island (and cheese/butter please). I made this quickly and easily in my bread machine, but you can do this recipe even if you don’t own one.  Instructions for non-bread machine users are at the bottom of the post. I found a neat tip today for giving homemade bread a crispy crust. Throw a couple of ice cubes in the bottom of your oven at the start of the baking time. Then, for a crispier crust, put a couple more in there halfway thru. I did this with these loaves today and it worked like a charm! I love odd ideas that actually work.

French Bread

1 1/4 cups water (110-115° F)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon cornmeal
GLAZE:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. In bread machine pan, place the first five ingredients in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).
  2. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
  3. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
  4. Whisk egg and water; brush over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

No bread machine? No problem.

Turn oven on to 400 degrees for 1 minute. Turn oven OFF. Mix sugar & yeast in water, let sit for 5 min.  Combine the flour & salt together in my kitchen aid mixer bowl. Then, using the dough hook on the lowest speed, pour water mixture into flour & let it knead for 8 minutes. If the dough is dry & flakey after 1 min. of mixing, add a scant tbsp of water. Dough should be smooth & elastic after 8 min. Put in greased bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel & put in the slightly warm oven that is OFF. Let rise until doubled, 30-60 min. Now just follow the original recipe, returning the loaf to the OFF oven for its second rise.

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Comments

  1. Brilliant tip about getting a crispier crust.
    🙂 Mandy

    • bakerlady says:

      Thanks! When I read it, I knew I had to try it, but wasn’t sure it would actually work. 🙂

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