New Orleans French Loaves

Recipe by gailanng
READY IN: 2hrs 35mins
YIELD: 2 loaves




  • In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine water and sugar. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until blended. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, blend 3 cups flour, salt and vinegar. Add dissolved yeast mixture to flour mixture all at once.
  • Process 3 to 4 seconds to combine. Stop machine to check consistency of dough. The dough should be wet and sticky with a slight degree of body. If it is too soupy, add additional bread flour, ONE TABLESPOON AT A TIME, processing to blend between each addition, until a wet, sticky dough is formed. (I have found adding too much flour makes for a heavy loaf and that is not original to the ones sold in New Orleans.).
  • Process no more than 15 seconds to knead dough. Pour vegetable oil into a large bowl; oil hands and fingers well. Remove blade from processor, placing any dough which clings to it in bowl. Remove rest of dough to oiled bowl, forming dough into a loose ball. Turn dough over several times to coat completely with oil. Careful not to mix the oil into the dough.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours. When dough has doubled in bulk, stir down dough, removing all air from first rising.
  • Position oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 1 double-trough French-bread pan or a triple baguette pan, using some of oil remaining in bottom of bowl. Thoroughly grease hands with some oil from bowl.
  • To make 2 French loaves, pinch dough in half; lift out of bowl, 1 piece at a time. To make baguettes, divide dough into thirds. Lay dough in 1 trough of bread pan; repeat procedure with remaining dough. Because of its very wet and loose consistency, dough will shape itself. Brush dough surface thoroughly with some butter-and-salt mixture.
  • Loosely cover loaves with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Reserve remaining butter-and-salt mixture. When loaves have doubled in bulk, carefully remove plastic wrap; brush loaves with remaining butter-salt mixture. Use very light pressure when applying butter mixture, taking care not to deflate loaves.
  • Bake in center of preheated oven until golden brown on top, 25 minutes. Carefully turn loaves over in pan; bake about 10 minutes more to brown bottoms. Cool completely on cooling racks.