Crusty Country Style French Bread

"This recipe came with a Williams- Sonoma French Bread pan my In-Laws gave me for Christmas. (I have wonderful In-Laws :)) I have only tried this recipe in the specified pan and it is absolutely delicious! Crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The technique is a bit unusual compared to what I was used to, but it is well worth the effort. I don't know if it is the recipe, the technique, the pan, or a combination of all 3 that makes these loaves so tasty, but this is now my standard recipe. Just a note: This recipe prints out on 2 pages. Thought I'd mention it if you want to print 2 sided to save paper ;)"
photo by KATHLEEN M. photo by KATHLEEN M.
photo by KATHLEEN M.
photo by KATHLEEN M. photo by KATHLEEN M.
photo by demandsi photo by demandsi
photo by demandsi photo by demandsi
photo by Brenda. photo by Brenda.
Ready In:
4hrs 10mins
2 loaves


  • 2 cups water (warm 110 F or 43 C)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 14 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5 - 5 12 cups flour (plus additional flour for dusting)
  • 2 12 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt


  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the yeast and stir gently to mix.
  • Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 4 cups of the flour and the salt. Beat on low speed just until combined.
  • Slowly add the yeast mixture and beat just until incorporated about 1 minute.
  • Increase the speed to medium low to medium and beat for 10 minutes adding more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (I used speed 4 on my Artisan when I still had it and now use speed 2 with my P600).
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
  • Form into a ball and dust lightly with flour.
  • Sprinkle a little flour into a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. 45-60 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Punch down the dough and knead for a few seconds.
  • Form the dough into a ball and return to the bowl again.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. 20- 30 minutes.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch down.
  • Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball.
  • Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Line a french bread pan with a clean kitchen towel (a large flour sack towel works well) and sprinkle with a little flour.
  • Roll each ball into a log with tapered ends, about the length of the pan, and place on the towel in the pan. Cover with the overhanging edges of the towel and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  • Position an oven rack in the lowest position of the oven, and place a baking pan 1/3 full of boiling water on the rack.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F (220C).
  • Gently lift the towel holding the loaves off of the pan, taking care not to let the loaves touch each other and set on a work surface.
  • Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and using the towel as a guide gently flip each loaf into a well in the pan.
  • Brush off excess flour.
  • Using a sharp knife, make 3-5 diagonal slashes in the loaves about 1/4 inch deep (6mm).
  • Brush with the beaten egg white mixture.
  • Bake on center rack until the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 30-35 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool the loaves in the pan until room temperature.

Questions & Replies

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  1. rmunson
    Can I eat one loaf and freeze the second? At what stage? Thank you


  1. Lindsay B.
    This is the best French bread recipe I've used - and the Saran Wrap trick is pure genius. It's 1000% easier, however, once you get a stand mixer.
    I have made several French bread recipes over the years and when I bought the bread pans a couple of weeks ago, I too got this recipe. This is a keeper! When I read the recipe and saw that I was to use a dish towel, I thought to myself, "no way that is going to work". I used plastic wrap (2 pieces) sprayed with Pam. It was beautiful and so flavorful.
    I`ve had these pans for years and their very handy! We loved the bread and I put it into my favorites to make again. It only took 25 min. in my oven, I also think that the bread shouldn`t be left in the pan too long after baking because the bottom gets a little damp.I also did like Carmen did and didn`t use the floured dish towel method. I will definitely make again, thanks for posting!
  4. Carmen_
    This is the BEST recipe for bread I've ever baked. I don't follow the whole instructions anymore as I almost messed up the first time. So I skip that part... I just place the loaves just shaped, onto the special baking tray and let them rise there for 15 additional minutes. Then continue as the recipe says.<br/>Thank you for posting the recipe, I threw away the recipe having only copied it halfway through.
  5. brian_howes
    Bread stuck to the flour sack even though I floured it. Had to throw the whole thing out and start over.


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