Today we are going to be making French bread! I’ve made this a lot in the past and have loved it during the years. It’s the perfect addition especially now that we have entered soup season! One quick note about this French bread recipe. It’s a little more involved than my “No Knead” bread. If you want something that’s a little different, super delicious, and inexpensive, this is the best.
This recipe makes two large loaves. I use my Bosch mixer, which is known for its high capacity. If you’re using a Kitchen Aid or a smaller mixer, I would recommend cutting it in half to ensure your mixer doesn’t get overloaded.
I’m first starting with a pot of boiling water. This is actually going to be placed in the oven with the dough to help it rise in a very humid and warm environment because this dough is going to rise longer than our normal dough.
For the flour, I am using all purpose white flour. We are also adding active dry yeast, white sugar, white vinegar, oil, and salt.
When making the dough we are first going to start with 2 1/2 cups of warm water. When you make bread, to know what temperature your water needs to be, you should be able to put your hand in the warm water without having any pullback reaction. Another option is viewing the recommended temperature on your active dry yeast container. Generally, this temperature sits between 105-115 degree Fahrenheit. If it’s too hot, it will kill your yeast.
After getting the warm water to the perfect temperature, add in your 2 tablespoons of yeast, 3 tablespoons of white sugar, and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Mix these ingredients together and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Once the mixture is nice and bubbly, it’s time to add the remaining ingredients: salt, oil, and flour. Remember from my previous recipes how flour is temperamental? Same goes for this recipe. If you make this bread on a dry day you won’t need nearly as much as you would need on a wet, humid day.
Okay, so we’ve added our salt oil and flour. At this time your dough should be pulled from the sides of the bowl and are no longer sticking. Allow your mixer to continue to run for an additional 10 minutes to really knead your bread.
When your dough has finished mixing for an additional 10 minutes, place it in an oiled bowl. Place your dough in the oiled bowl in the oven with your pot of boiling water with the oven light on for the rising process.
This next step is what sets this French bread apart and makes it more involved from other breads. What that means is you’re going to want to let it rise, punch it down, and let it rise again about 2 to 5 times. This process is what is going to give you such beautiful texture. Typically, when you go to the store and get French bread, the bread is Firmer. Whereas, this bread is soft inside and out.
After allowing your dough to rise and be punched down at a minimum of 2 times with a max of 5 times, it’s time to knead your dough. If you’ve never kneaded before you’re going to gather the dough towards you and then push it down and away from you. If you’re doing it by hand, you’ll want to knead it for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Split your dough into two halves and form into loaf shapes with a few cuts at the top of the dough. You can shape it shorter and wider or longer and thinner. My family preferred the longer and thinner one, but it’s whatever you prefer.
Let your dough rise for 20-30 minutes. Following this rise time, bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
For a walkthrough on how to bake homemade French bread, click here to watch my YouTube video.
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 TBSP yeast
- 3 TBSP sugar
- 2 TBSP white vinegar
- 1 TBSP salt
- 1/3 cup oil
- 6-7 cups all purpose flour
- Mix warm water, yeast, sugar, and white vinegar in your mixer of choice and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and knead for 10 minutes.
- Place dough into oiled bowl and let it rise in the oven with a pot of boiling water.
- Let it rise until doubled and punch it down 2-5 times.
- Form into 2 large or 4 small French bread loaves and let it rise another 20 minutes covered in a clean towel.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.