Prep1 hr 30 mins
This recipe will make two loaves of the *best* French bread you will ever have, I have been making this for years with perfect results every time, sometimes it is not the ingredients used but the method used that will make for perfect results, this is my way to a create the perfect French bread! --- you will need some cornmeal for the pan and an egg white for brushing on the top of the loaves, also about 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds --- make certain to have the two separated cups of water at the right temperature or your bread will not turn out properly, two .25-ounce packages of yeast will be fine for this recipe --- NOTE use 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast OR 2 small packages/envelopes of active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water, divided (110 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 teaspoon active dry yeast (or use two .25-ounce packages yeast)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5 1⁄2-6 1⁄2 cups bread flour (more if needed)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (or use Canola oil, DO NOT substitute butter or shortening for the oil it will affect the texture)
- Attach the dough hook to heavy duty stand mixer.
- In a small cup or bowl mix 1 teaspoon sugar into 1 cup warm water until combined.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast and mix gently.
- Cover the cup and allow to proof until foamy (about 8 minutes, if the yeast does not foam discard and make again).
- Place 5-1/2 cups flour in the stainless steel mixing bowl along with the salt, sugar and 5 tablespoons oil.
- After the yeast has proofed add to the bowl along with remaining 1 cup warm water.
- Start kneading process adding in more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed to create a soft smooth semi-sticky dough (kneading should take about 8 minutes).
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface; cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for 3 minutes (this is important, allow to sit for 3 minutes).
- Oil a large deep bowl.
- Gather up the dough and gently knead into a ball (the dough will come together easily after resting).
- Place the dough into the bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled.
- Punch down the dough and remove to a lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough evenly in half.
- Cover both pieces of dough and allow to rest for 5 minutes (this will make shaping the dough easier).
- Roll each dough into about a 9 x 12-inch rectangle, then roll up jelly-roll fashion starting at long edge.
- Seal edges and seam of each loaf.
- Grease a large jelly-roll pan then sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons cornmeal.
- Place the two long shaped loaves onto the pan seam-side down spacing apart.
- Using a razor blade or a small sharp knife slash each loaf 3 times diagonally.
- In a small cup whisk an egg white then brush over each loaf.
- Sprinkle the tops with about 2 teaspoons seasme seeds for each loaf.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
I've tried countless time to make French bread, but every time it turned out as flat and hard as matzos... until I tried this recipe. This recipe is fool-proof! It turned out two of the most beautiful loaves that I've ever seen. Mix the dough at speed 4 on your stand mixer; I did some research and apparently this yields the best dough consistency. Thank you so much for the recipe!
I know it seems harsh, but here's why 2 stars:
- This does not taste like a baguette from a good bakery. It is not flavorful enough. I suggest a poolish and an additional rise to fix this.
- Does not have the hole structure of a good bread. Again, suggest more fermentation time to get that. It has, as pictured, basically all-one-size rather small pores in the bread. A good baguette has all different size holes.
It gets 2 stars, not 1 star, because it will come out, does present well (very pretty crust), and is the easiest and fastest recipe I've ever seen for bread. Unfortunately, this comes with a flavor price. To be expected, but I figured I'd try based on the reviews. Well, now you have mine. Cheers.
If you told me this recipe was for a very good white sandwich bread I'd give it 5 stars. But this recipe does not make Baguette. The recipe was easy to follow and the instructions produced an excellent white loaf. But it really wasn't Baguette.