French Bread

frenchbread

I have been sitting on this recipe for a while and have really wanted to share, but its just been so busy with my new little guy around. This is one of my favorite breads to make. Its quick and easy enough to make even with a fussy new baby and homeschooling my other 4 kids. Plus, the bread is delicious and my family loves it. It rivals some of the Italian and French bread I used to buy at my local bakery. It is also a bread that I can eat, since my little one has decided to have a dairy allergy 🙁  Not fun for a butter and cheese lover like myself. I feel like I have had to completely change my cooking and eating habits!! I was starving at first,  but he is so worth it 🙂 So I have been experimenting with dairy free baking and cooking and will share some of those finds when I can.

frenchbread1

It is a very versatile dough and you can make the loaves whatever size you want, just adjust the baking time. I have even made baguettes with it. This bread cooks up soft in the middle and that perfect golden crusty exterior.  It’s great plain but I like to add toppings- you can add shredded cheese, seeds, or even everything topping (our favorite) like in the pictures.

frenchbread2

French Bread
makes 2 loaves
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 cups of lukewarm water
  2. 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  3. 1 Tablespoon Instant Yeast
  4. 1 Tablespoon Salt
  5. 2 Tablespoons Oil (vegetable or olive oil work well)
  6. 6 to 7 Cups of Unbleached All Purpose Flour
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook or in a large bowl, add water, sugar and yeast. (if you don't have instant yeast and are using regular- let the yeast dissolve and activate, otherwise just proceed).
  2. Add the Salt, Oil and 3 cups of the flour and mix together very well. Continue to gradually add the remaining flour and mix/knead until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is soft and not too sticky. (You may not use full amount of flour- see note)
  3. Continue to knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Then cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. At the end of 10 minutes, turn on the mixer or stir the dough down for about 10 seconds. Allow to rest for another 10 minutes and stir down again. Repeat the resting and stirring down process a total of 5 times.
  5. Lightly grease your work surface and place dough on it. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll one piece into approximately a 9x13 rectangle. Starting at the long edge, tightly roll the dough into a loaf and pinch the seam shut, tuck the ends under. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for other piece of dough. Make sure there is enough room on the baking sheet for both loaves or just use 2 pans.
  6. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Close to end of rising time, preheat oven to 375 degrees. When loaves are risen- using a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 gashes in the top of each loaf. If adding toppings, spray lightly with water and sprinkle on toppings.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and baked.
Notes
  1. The amount of flour will vary on temperature and humidity. I have had to use up to 7 cups of flour in this recipe. I add flour until a soft, not to sticky dough is achieved, adding very gradually after 5 cups.
Adapted from The Sisters Cafe
Adapted from The Sisters Cafe
Amy Kay's Kitchen https://www.amykayskitchen.com/

Your comments are appreciated!