Crusty French Bread

READY IN: 50mins
Recipe by PCrocker

This recipe produces two crusty and chewy loaves that are so very good and so much better than store bought.

Top Review by jimnyo

this rating is for the ingredients only. i used a different technique (from epicurious.com) to make sure it was crusty. first, i made the dough in my bread machine. then, i divided the dough into 2 lumps. i pressed each out into a rectangle and then rolled it up lengthwise to make 2 baguettes. i placed each on a cornmeal lined silpat mat on cookie sheets and basted with olive oil. i let loaves rise, uncovered, in a warm draft-free place 30 minutes.

then i put oven racks in upper third of oven, and put a large roasting pan with 1 inch of water in it on the bottom of the oven. preheat oven to 450°F. the high heat definitely gives it a crunchy exterior.

i made 3 shallow diagonal slashes down length of each loaf with razor. bake loaves 30 minutes, but watch closely b/c my top loaf ended up getting a little too dark, so maybe check at 20 mins. and bake until it sounds hollow. i did see another recipe on this site that called for baking the first 15 mins. and then 350 for the remainder, which i will try another time. i prefer this method to misting b/c it still gives me the crunchy crust w/o all the hassle.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 12 cups warm water
  • 34 tablespoon yeast
  • 34 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 34 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 12 teaspoons salt
  • 3 34-4 18 cups bread flour

Directions

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down and divide in half.
  7. Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
  8. Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
  9. Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I use scissors).
  10. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  12. Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust.

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