You’ll be baking homemade bread all the time with this easy French Bread recipe. It’s amazing that a little bit of flour, yeast & olive oil can make this soft on the inside, crusty on the outside can’t-stop-eating-it bread.
When the weather turns cooler I love hanging out in my kitchen. And I just love when the rich fragrant smells emanating from my oven fill the house. I have one of those warm & fuzzy moments and want to hug my whole family!
So today I decided to bake up some French bread to have with my homemade tomato soup. I know you are probably thinking “I CAN’T make bread” or “It’s TOO HARD!” but this is really one of the simplest bread recipes to make. It only takes about 20 minutes prep time, which you can do in the morning then let it raise during the day and bake it 30 minutes prior to dinner. That’s it!
What’s the secret to making a great bread? I think it’s getting the water just the right temperature before adding it to the yeast. I use a thermometer, any one that has a 120-130 degree mark will do, and once that’s right everything else falls in place. Of course, an electric mixer with a dough hook, like my wonderful Kitchen Aid (which I am not being paid to say), is a lifesaver and cuts the kneading time down by 50%.
And what comes out of your oven is unbelievably delicious. It was so good that my husband couldn’t stop eating it! (which could be a bad thing if I made it all the time!) Oh, and it freezes well too, so go ahead and bake up a storm and you’ll have fresh bread at your fingertips whenever you get a craving for it. Great to accompany soup, quiche or delicious pasta dinners.
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- 2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 5 -5 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 packets or 1 Tablespoon Rapid Rise yeast
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
Mix 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 4-cup microwave-safe measuring cup. Place in microwave and heat on high for about 2 minutes. You want the water to reach a temperature between 120-130 degrees. (I use a meat thermometer that has a 130 degree mark on it just to make sure I don’t get it too hot.)
White the water is heating, mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Pour the hot liquids into the flour mix and stir to combine. Knead by hand for 10 minutes or with a mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes.
Prepare 2 cookie sheets by spraying with Pam or other nonstick spray then dusting with cornmeal.
Let dough rest in bowl for 10 minutes then form into 4 long loaves and place on prepared cookie sheet. Cut slits in the top with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.
Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cookie sheets on middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Makes 4 small loaves.