Cookbook:Easy French Bread

Easy French Bread
CategoryBread recipes
Yield2 loaves
Time3–4 hours

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes | French cuisine | Vegetarian cuisine | Bread

Ingredients edit

Ingredient Count Volume[note 1] Weight Baker's %
Warm milk [note 2] 2 cups 488 g 50.37%
Butter or margarine 2 tablespoons 28.4 g 2.93%
Active dry yeast [note 3] 2 packages 14.4 g 1.49%
Warm water (about 110°F) ¼ cup 59 g 6.12%
Salt 1 teaspoon 6 g 0.62%
Flour 7½–8 cups 969 g 100%
Total n/a n/a 1565 g 162%

Procedure edit

  1. Scald milk and butter by bringing it to at least 180 °F (82 °C), and let it cool to at least 105 °F (41 °C).
  2. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cooled butter and milk, and salt.
  4. Start adding flour and mix until dough is thick and pulls off spoon like gum.
  5. Knead until dough is springy and smooth (about 10 minutes). You may want to do this with a mixer and dough hook.
  6. Form into a ball and put in greased bowl, turning to grease top, then cover with a cloth.
  7. Rise until doubled (until a finger impression stays), about an hour, depending on temperature.
  8. Punch down dough, turn out, and divide in half.
  9. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  10. Shape each half of dough into a square.
  11. Roll dough into two 10 x 15-inch (25 x 35 cm) oblongs; roll up each, starting on the long side.
  12. Place each oblong on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal.
  13. Slash loaf tops ¼ inch (almost 1 cm) diagonally with floured sharp knife or razor blade.
  14. Brush loaves with water.
  15. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F (190°C).
  16. Brush loaves with water again. Bake another 10 minutes.
  17. Brush loaves with water again. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  18. Cool on wire racks.

Notes, tips, and variations edit

  • To get a rapid initial rise, use water about 130–135°F (55-60°C), and pour into bowl with yeast mixed with initial flour and salt, and start mixing.
  • All rising should be in a warm place, like near the refrigerator.
  • A baking stone, ceramic brick, or even an iron skillet or griddle preheated in the oven (to place the baking sheet on) will give a good "spring" or quick rise when the loaves are first placed in the oven.

Conversion notes edit

  1. Weight conversions from USDA National Nutrient Database. Original recipe text and ingredient order preserved. Whole milk of 3.25% milkfat, and all purpose flour presumed, flour defined as 7 3/4 cups. Hydration will increase slightly with lowfat milk.
  2. This percentage results in a low hydration (water content of milk + water). Suggest adding at least 7% water (as baker's percent).
  3. This amount of yeast will result in a perceptible yeast flavor. To reduce this flavor, it is recommended to use no more than 0.775% instant dry yeast expressed as a baker's %, alternatively, 2.5% cake yeast (compressed) or 1.05% active dry yeast, although in all cases you can expect fermentation time to increase somewhat. Further reductions will result in less yeast flavor and longer bulk fermentation times.