One-Bowl French Bread

I made French Bread yesterday.

That’s right – I made French Bread.  The kind of bread that you want to eat warm and fresh from the oven.  With lots of butter.  Or by itself, if butter isn’t your thing.  Butter is definitely my thing.  That’s why my mom bought me my own little butter crock.  I’m not kidding.

Anyway…

The bread’s easy to make.  You don’t need a stand mixer or a bread machine.  Just a bowl, 6 ingredients, a wooden spoon, baking sheet, and an oven.

One Bowl French Bread

  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 C warm water, divided
  • 1 T sugar
  • 4 C all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 T cooking oil

Pour yeast and 1/2 C of warm water into bowl {water should be warm enough that it just borders on being uncomfortable when you put your hand in it}.  Whisk it around a time or two, then let it sit for 4 – 5 minutes, or till all of the yeast is dissolved.

Add 2 C of flour, remaining water, and sugar.  Mix together.  Add another 1/2 C of the flour.  If you’re using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook.  If you’re like me and are using a wooden spoon, then stir harder.  Continue to add the flour, one 1/2 C at a time, till all of it is incorporated.  You may have to use your hands, push a little hollow into the dough, scrape some of the floury bits into the center, and mash it all together in order to mix everything well.  I actually like using my hands – there’s something quite nice about the feel of bread dough, don’t you think?

Plop the dough onto a counter-top.  Spray the bowl and any bits of flour stuck to the sides of the bowl with non-stick cooking spray or brush it with oil or grease it with lard… whatever you choose.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and set the bowl in a warm place for 60 minutes, or till dough has doubled in size.  If you don’t have a warm place, you may have to wait a bit longer than 60 minutes, but don’t worry – it’ll get there!

Once the dough has doubled in size, put it back on a lightly floured counter-top.  Smush and stretch it into a rectangular shape 16 inches long {~40cm}.  You want it to be a bit mounded – not too thin.  Place the dough onto a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray and lightly dusted with flour.  Cover the dough again with a damp towel, put it back in that warm spot, and allow to rise for another 45 minutes or so, till dough is doubled in size.

Once dough is doubled in size, cut 6 – 8 diagonal slashes on top, then spray again with cooking spray {or brush with oil, melted butter, what have you}.  Pop it into the oven at 400F {200C} for 30 minutes, or till golden brown.  Remove from pan and let it cool on a wire rack or a cutting board, and try not to eat it all at once!

Original recipe can be found here

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4 comments

  1. Janine says:

    I love french bread and haven’t had it in ages, but your pictures makes me want to go home and start baking immediately. It’s going on my must-make this weekend (and will be great motivation to get me through my workouts this week).

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