French Bread

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Loading the peel. French bread video
Freely use this recipe for your enjoyment, but please do not republish.


For British and metric measurement equivalents click here.
Sponge:
1 teaspoonActive dry yeast
10 oz.Bread flour* (~2 cups**)
1½ cups

Warm water (80-90°F)

Dough Ingredients (to be added to sponge)
1 teaspoonActive dry yeast
¼ cupWarm water (80-90°F)
14 oz.Bread flour (~3 cups)
2 teaspoonsSalt, uniodized***

Method
  1. Prepare sponge: In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix sponge ingredients. Cover and let rise at room temperature until the mixture looks bubbly and is at least double in volume (see video). Approximately 2-3 hours.
  2. Make the dough: In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir one teaspoon yeast into the ¼ cup of water and let sit for a few minutes until softened (dissolved).
  3. Add the softened yeast, 14 oz. bread flour and salt to the sponge. Stir with a spoon to incorporate ingredients well. If dough feels dry, add a bit more water. If it feels too wet, add a little more flour. Make adjustments, if necessary, in small increments (one tablespoon at a time-or less).
  4. Empty dough onto table and knead for 8-10 minutes, using as little flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. This may be done using a heavy duty stand mixer and mixing on speed two for 5-6 minutes or speed one for 10 minutes. Use the slower speed if your mixer sounds as if it is straining.
  5. Round the dough and place back in the bowl. Cover and let rise until double (usually between 1-2 hours).
  6. Divide the dough into four pieces and round each piece. Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  7. Follow the video for the shaping, rising, slashing, and baking of the loaves with steam.
  8. Loaves will bake in approximately 20-25 minutes at 425°F. There should be a hollow sound when the bottoms are tapped. Be careful - bread is very hot!
  9. Enjoy!
*I recommend King Arthur Bread Flour.
**If using measuring cups, stir flour, spoon into cup and level off.
***I like to use Kosher or sea salt.

Visit my French Bread FAQs page to see answers to common questions.

Happy Cooking!

© 2014 Susan J. Sady