French Hearth Bread

"This rustic bread has its origins in the towns and farms of the French countryside. With the addition of honey for sweetness and a golden crust, the further addition of a small amount of wheat flour makes a perfect loaf of daily bread."
photo by Linajjac photo by Linajjac
photo by Linajjac
photo by Linajjac photo by Linajjac
photo by mammafishy photo by mammafishy
photo by Pastryismybiz photo by Pastryismybiz
Ready In:
5hrs 30mins




  • Dough Starter:.
  • In a mixer bowl combine the 1 cup bread flour,1/4 cup wheat flour, 1/2 tsp yeast, honey and water.
  • Whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Scrape down bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let ferment at room temperature for 1 hour up to 4 hours.Starter will have bubbled up and risen in the bowl.
  • Flour Mixture:.
  • Combine the 1 3/4 cups bread flour and the yeast.
  • Add to the risen sponge in the mixing bowl.Do not add salt at this time.
  • With the dough hook installed mix on low speed (# 2 on a Kitchenaid) for about one minute until you have a rough dough.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on the salt at this stage and knead with dough hook (#4 speed) for about 7 minutes. Instant read thermometer plunged into the center should read 78 to 80 degrees.
  • The dough should be very elastic, smooth and slightly sticky;If too sticky,add a little flour up to 1/4 cup. You can knead in any extra flour by hand after you remove the dough from the bowl.
  • Let the dough rise in an oiled covered bowl until double at room temperature.
  • Press the dough down, fold it over and let rise again for another l hour.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • The dough may be formed into a ball or,placed in an 8 X 4 greased bread pan or rolled out to an oblong loaf.
  • Free form loaves should be placed on a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with flour or cornmeal.
  • Cover the shaped dough and allow it to double. The freeform oblong loaf should be 8" by 3"inches high. In the loaf pan the center should be 1" higher then the sides of the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 475 1 hour before baking. Adjust oven shelf to lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating the oven.
  • At this stage I like to mist the loaf with water and roll it in sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other whole grains.
  • Slash freeform bread diagonally with a sharp knife or razor blade making 1/2" deep slices.
  • If using a loaf pan, make 1 slash down the center or leave unslashed.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 475 then turn oven down to 425 and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes more or until Instant Read Thermometer reads about 200 degrees. Cover halfway through baking if loaf becomes too brown.
  • Let bread cool thoroughly before slicing.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This bread is legit amazing! Crusty on the outside & chewy on the inside! It’s perfect for mopping up any broth. Thanks!
  2. Very nice!! I doubled the recipe with no problems. I agree with the other review...good directions! Thanks for sharing.
  3. Excellent bread. Crystal clear instructions. Result: a beautiful artisan style loaf--good crust, perfectly chewy--hard not to eat the whole loaf right up!


Training culinary:2 years culinary school Houston Community College (downtwn branch highly recommend) French pastry and artisan breads. I am immersed in family, spouse and everything homeside. it is now my time having retired, to do all the fun things I couldn't do while working. I believe life is most bountiful when we serve others. I also believe the best cooks are those who cook and bake with a love of making people happy. I especially enjoy sending cookies to our soldiers in Iraq. It is a joy to read their letters and emails of appreciation for a taste of home. I also love sewing, upholstery, gardening,church activities and remodeling take up the time not spent with family. I hope I can be as helpful to the cooks on Recipezaar as they have been helpful to me. When time permits I love to test and review recipes on this site that appeal to me. I am also a believer in power naps.
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