Monday, February 28, 2011

French Bread

We enjoy this recipe so often that my husband recited the ingredients and directions with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back. Okay, I'm kidding about that last part, but we do eat this bread all. the. time., and he really did give me the recipe off the top of his head.

If you're in the mood for a crunchy and slightly chewy crust with a soft center, then this is for you. This French bread has a hint of whole wheat in it, which gives it a nice hearty flavor without being too dense. There's nothing fancy-schmancy about it, but it's the perfect accompaniment to just about any meal. My husband often doubles the recipe and freezes the dough so we can have homemade bread for dinner whenever we're in the mood for it, but it's also easy enough for him to make a batch for dinner right when he gets home from work.

Trust me when I say this bread is just plain good.

{Whole Wheat} French Bread
makes two loaves

1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs butter, room temperature (butter substitute is fine)
envelope of active-dry yeast
2 1/4 cups hot water (hot, around 114 degrees; not scalding)
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups AP flour (increase up to one cup)
drizzle, olive oil

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine salt, sugar, yeast, and butter. Add water; mix. Pour in two cups of water; mix in two cups of flour. (At this point, it will look like cake batter.) If using a stand mixer, attach dough hook. Slowly add the last three cups of flour. Mix on high for a few minutes; until dough is slightly sticky. If dough is too sticky, add additional flour until it's just slightly sticky.

Sprinkle working area with flour and knead dough for a couple minutes. Form into a ball. (You can also freeze it at this point: divide ball into two and tightly wrap each with saran wrap.) Lightly coat dough with oil and place in a large bowl. Cover bowl with saran wrap and place in a warm location for twenty minutes. (If frozen, let thaw and continue on from here.)

Take the dough, punch it down, and knead it to get air bubbles out. Divide dough in half. Knead and roll each half into a long log, about 18" long. Repeat with other half. Place dough on loaf pan. Take your sharpest knife and cut three diaganol slits across dough about 1/2" deep. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.


  1. I love how simple this recipe seems. I have only tried making bread once, & it failed miserably, so it kind of put me off trying again! But in fairness, it was a recipe from my boss, & in retrospect we discovered he'd missed out one of the stpes involving a bucketload more of flour, hehe! I'll have to give this a go and see if I have any more luck.

  2. I need to start stocking whole wheat flour in my pantry. I'm definitely going to try this.


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