Well, this is the weirdest time I have ever had in my life. Just this Friday our kids school was closed from the threat of the Coronavirus. It is now Monday and we venture out for two weeks to see if this social distancing does anything to help slow the rate of this virus. Sadly so many other states are in this same situation. So, my goal over the next couple of weeks is to bring you useful and helpful tips, tricks and recipes that might get us through this odd time. Today I want to share with you my super easy french bread recipe that can be made in less than 2 hours!
This recipe is one I have used for a long time and I have tweaked and changed it to fit how I like to bake. During this uncertain time in our nation, with grocery store shelves empty and people in panic, I take comfort knowing that I can make staple items at home that will feed and nourish my family.
Having a bread making skill in invaluable in this society. Its such a great skill to have, and believe it, it is possible to learn and master it!
Knowing that the bread is flying off the shelf is a bit unnerving, but knowing I have all the ingredients in my home to make my own makes my heart feel a bit more calm. And I bet you have all the ingredients in your pantry.
Even if you don’t, I can bet you can still get them.
Lets talk about how to make this easy french bread recipe:
This french bread recipe calls for some simple ingredients you probably have in your home. Lets talk about them.
I use my KitchenAid to mix this french bread recipe up. This recipe makes two french bread loaves.
I start with warm water, between 90-100 degrees. I never check the temperature, and often use the hot water right out of my kitchen faucet because it is hot enough. You can heat your water on the stove or microwave, but you do not want it too hot because it will and can kill the yeast.
I start with the warm water, honey and yeast in the mixer. I let these three ingredients sit together for a couple minutes while I gather my olive oil salt and flour.
You will see the yeast start to bubble and foam a bit. There is a reason why I put the honey in with the yeast and water. Yeast feeds on the sugars in the honey.
Once I have my other ingredients, I will start to mix the dough. I add the olive oil first, then the salt and 3 cups of flour.
I mix on low with the dough hook until it starts to combine. Once the mixture is combined I will add another cup of flour and turn the mixer on medium speed. This will help the dough develop the gluten. I will continue adding the flour until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the mixer bowl.
It will be obvious when this is is happening. The french bread dough will go from very sticky to doughy and still soft but it will not stick to the side of the bowl anymore. I usually use about 5 cups of flour, but it can vary with each batch I make. You will want to let the dough knead in the mixer for 2-3 minutes longer to help develop the gluten more.
Once it is done, I simply cover it with saran wrap for about 30 minutes. I usually let it sit while I get dinner started.
After it has sat for about 30 minutes it should have risen a bit, or almost doubled in size. Letting is rise gives the flour more flavor because it lets the yeast do its work in the bread even more.
I love making this bread! It is so good!
Once it has risen, I then cut it in half and shape it into two loaves and place them on a baking sheet pan. I then cut slips across the top at an angle to allow for raising. These do not need to be very deep.
I have a video below that shows how to make this french bread recipe:
I then brush them with an egg white wash. I let the bread raise for about 10 more minutes (but no more) on the pan and then put it in a 400 degree oven.
I will put these on the lower rack in my oven. It might not do anything, but I think the heat from the bottom helps the bread to raise from the bottom of the dough and will give it a nice lift. You want the top to bake last, so that it can expand and rise.
It takes about 25 minutes to bakes these. I keep an eye out and check them often. Avoid opening the oven for the first 10 minutes. This is time it needs to raise in the oven and get itself set. I will usually check it about 18 minutes in and make sure that its baking well and not getting to done yet. At this point, I will usually brush another coat of egg wash onto the bread. You want to do this about 5 minutes before the bread is done. So make sure to wait until it feels close to done.
You can tell this my tapping on the bread. If it still feels soft and not hollow, let it cook a couple more minutes. If it feels slightly hollow make sure to brush it on now. Do not move the bread on the pan or take it out of the oven. I will pull the oven rack out and carefully brush on while it is still in the heat of the oven.
The egg wash is what helps it get that golden shiny look to the top.
When the bread is nice and golden brown take it out of the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before moving it.
Ready to make some?
This easy french bread recipe can be made in no time! It makes 2 large loaves and has the best flavor and crust! It makes amazing garlic bread or hot and crusty dipped in in a soup. It makes amazing french bread as well! it is a great all around versatile bread recipe/
- 2 CUPS warm water 90-100 degrees
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 5-6 cups bread flour or white flour If you are using regular flour this recipe works great too. You can also add 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten to give the regular flour a more bread flour quality.
- 1 large egg white mixed with 1 tbsp water
Put the water, honey and yeast in the mixer bowl and let it sit for about 5 minutes while you gather your other ingredients.
The yeast will begin to foam and ferment
Add the olive oil, 3 cups of flour and the salt and turn the mixer on low/medium
Mix until it is all well combined and very doughy.
Add 1/2 cup at a time until you reach a dough that will come away from the bowl but is still soft and elastic. I sometimes only need 5 cups of flour and sometimes I need more. It all depends on that one batch. I find it is always a bit different and you need to read the dough and not just keep adding the flour that the recipe calls for. If it gets too much with flour it will not rise well and will be tough and heavy. In my opinion err on the side of less flour.
Knead it for 2-3 more minutes on medium/high.
Once it is kneaded thoroughly, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in a sunny or warm place for 30 minutes.
While it raises, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and remove the top rack in your oven. You want to bake this on the middle or lower rack.
Once it has sat for 30 minutes, you will divide the french bread dough into 2.
You want to roll the dough in on itself, shaping it into a snake shape.
If you find the dough is a bit sticky, you can use a small amount of flour to roll it on. Shape it into the desired size.
I then will cut some superficial diagonal lines in the top of the dough to give it a place to raise more in the oven without cracking or splitting.
The last thing I do is brush on a thin egg wash just to cover the dough. This allows it to raise without drying the outside of the dough out.
I let it sit for about 10 minutes to raise until the dough has almost doubled.
You do not want the dough to raise too much or it will deflate in the oven and you will have a flat french bread. A tip, if you stick your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it can still raise a bit, if it stays in, it is ready to bake. I err on the side of less raising with this french bread because it will continue to raise in the oven.
Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes. At about 18 minutes, check the bread and make sure it is not getting to brown. Brush on a layer of egg wash at this time. This will give it that golden shiny crust that is also soft and delicious.
You can tap the bread and if it sounds hollow, it is ready to be pulled out of the oven.
Leave the bread on the pan for about 15 minutes to cool and then you can move them. If you move them immediately they could flatten or deflate a bit. Let them set.
Eat this bread fresh out of the oven, turn it into garlic bread, or save it for french toast, french bread pizza and so much more!
I love this bread. It will store in a bag for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it and use it whenever you want!
What do you think? Isn’t it time we get back to our roots and learn to make some of the essentials? Come on, I promise its so easy. Easier than you think.
Want more great recipes? Check these out too!
Have a great day!