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/
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!