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Traditional Crusty French Bread

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Ingredients
  Dry yeast 1⁄2 Ounce (2 Envelopes)
  Warm water 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) (105°F To 115°F)
  Unbleached all purpose flour 7 Cup (112 tbs)
  Warm water 2 1⁄4 Cup (36 tbs) (105°F To 115°F)
  Salt 4 Teaspoon
  Flour 1 Cup (16 tbs)
Directions

Generously grease large bowl.
Lightly oil 6 baguette bread pans or 3 French bread pans.
Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup warm water and stir until dissolved.
Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Combine 5 cups flour and 2 1/4 cups warm water in another large mixing bowl.
Add yeast and remaining 2 cups flour.
Stir in 4 teaspoons salt.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to greased bowl, turning to coat all surfaces.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down.
Transfer to work surface and knead gently 1 to 2 minutes.
Return to greased bowl, turning to coat all surfaces.
Let stand in warm draft-free area until doubled, 3 hours.
Turn dough out onto work surface.
Divide into 6 or 3 equal pieces.
Flatten 1 piece into rectangle.
Fold long edge over 1/3; fold over remaining long edge as for business letter to form narrow rectangle.
Pinch edges together to seal.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Roll each rectangle into 18-inch cylinder using rocking motion.
Transfer to prepared pans.
Cover dough and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Arrange shallow roasting pan in lower rack of oven and fill halfway with water.
Holding tip of sharp knife on the bias, make 3 diagonal slashes across top of each baguette or loaf.
Transfer bread to oven and spray generously with water.
Spray 2 more times at 3-minute intervals to steam.
Bake baguettes until crust is brown, about 30 minutes.
(Bake loaves 5 to 10 minutes longer.) Remove bread from oven and brush surface with ice water.
Turn out onto wire racks and let cool before slicing.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Easy
Cuisine: 
French
Course: 
Appetizer
Method: 
Baked
Interest: 
Healthy

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