French bread is characterized as a long, slender baguette with a thick, golden crust that crackles when squeezed. The inside is soft and springy. Delicious! It's made from simple ingredients. French bread can be difficult to replicate in a home kitchen, unless you have a pan that allows the air to circulate so that the crust can dry and crisp.
Stand mixer with dough hook
Silicone baking mat
Bench scraper (Fat Daddio's BS)
French bread pan
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (120º - 130º)
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer using the flat beater, combine the yeast, 2 1/2 cups flour and salt. Mix on low for about 30 seconds.
- With the motor running on low, pour in the warm water. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Clean off beater and switch to the dough hook. Mix in the remaining cup of flour a little at a time, to make a soft dough, adding more or less flour as needed. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. The surface should be smooth and the dough will be soft and somewhat sticky.
- Turn the dough onto a kneading surface and let rest for 2 - 3 minutes while you wash and dry the bowl.
- Return the dough to the mixing bowl and let it rise at room temperature (about 75º) until 3 1/2 times its original volume. This will probably take about 3 hours.
- Punch the dough and return it to the bowl. Let the dough rise at room temperature until not quite tripled in volume, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Lightly grease your French bread pan.
- Shape the loaves and place them on the prepared pan. Cover the loaves loosely and let them rise at room temperature until almost triple in volume, about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF. Slash the loaves.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool for 2 - 3 hours before cutting.