How to Make Homemade French Bread - Recipe | By Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com
Once you taste this homemade bread recipe, you will never turn back! It's light, airy, versatile and easy to make (and super satisfying to knead the dough!). Perfect for making French toast or topped with sweet Michigan honey!
I'm a home cook and baker, not a professional chef...or French baker, for that matter. These are my tried and true family Michigan recipes that I am excited to share with you. My brother has been asking me to make a cookbook but this is the next best thing until that happens! I hope you enjoy!
Yield: This homemade French bread recipe makes one long French loaf. I prefer to make one loaf at a time so it's always fresh since it takes us about 3 days to eat.
For further ingredient clarification, I always use cane sugar, but I don't think it matters. Yeast: I prefer to use Fleischmann's RapidRise Instant Yeast. Salt: I use sea salt and my flour of choice is King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour.
Chris' aunt swears by King Arthur flour so it's all I've used for the past 10 years. She buys it for us in 50 pound bags at Shipshewana!
1. Heat the water in a small bowl so it's just warm to the feel, not hot as you don't want to kill the yeast.
2. Mix in the sugar and yeast. Set aside and don't touch it until it starts to bubble and the surface of the water is covered in a "fizz." (At least that's what it looks like to me.) Should take 5-8 minutes.
3. As the sugar and yeast are working, grab a larger bowl and mix together the flour and salt.
4. After the "fizz" appears on the water, sugar and yeast mixture, add the olive oil and gently stir the mixture.
5. Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture and stir.
6. Dump the French loaf mixture onto a silicone work surface and knead by hand. Add a bit of flour if the mixture sticks to your hands. Keep kneading for about 5-8 minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic, not dry. (see video for kneading method). If it feels dry keep kneading it, work the flour through very well.
7. Spray the same bowl you used to mix the dough with non-stick cooking spray. No need to wash the bowl (save time). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and top it with a clean kitchen towel. Sit the bowl in a warm place for about 2 hours until it has risen significantly (at least 3 times its original size).
8. Remove the risen French bread dough from the bowl and place it on the silicone work surface. Spread it out with your fingers into a long rectangle (see the video for details).
9. Then, roll the dough (jelly roll style) from the long side, with the seam ending on the bottom. (see the video for details)
10. Place the rolled dough onto a Silpat baking mat on a baking sheet. Spray plastic wrap with a non-stick cooking spray and completely cover the bread. Make sure the wrap isn't too tight, just lightly tent the dough and make sure the wrap is secured to your baking sheet so the bread doesn't dry out.
11. Let the bread raise again, in a warm space, until about double in size. This takes about 1 hour, depending on how warm your home is at the time.
12. Remove the plastic wrap and place your French bread into the preheated oven at 375 degrees.
13. Bake for 25 minutes for a lighter crust, 30 for a darker crust. I bake mine for 25 minutes as the crust is crispy, lightly browned and the inside is freakin' amazing.
14. Immediately place the baked bread on a wire rack and allow it to completely cool. If you can't wait (because who can??), slice a piece or two when it's still warm and top it with butter and honey.
It's a thing of beauty, no?