If the French are known for one thing, it’s their French bread. Real French bread is soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. It’s quick and easy to bake. You don’t need a Ph.D. in cuisine to make the ideal loaf of French bread at home. All you need is a couple of ingredients and a little know-how.
To make French bread, all you need is some cold and warm water, an egg white, a little bit of salt, a couple of packets of active dry yeast, some all-purpose flour, a tablespoon of cornmeal, an oven that can heat up to 375°F and about 17-20 minutes to bake. Anyone can make the perfect French Bread.
Making homemade French bread is a time-honored tradition for many and can really make a meal stand out. But how do you go about making French bread? What ingredients do you need to make the bread dough? How long should you bake it for? We will address all these questions today and get you baking the perfect French loaf.
How To Make The Best French Bread
Making French bread couldn’t be easier. French bread is the perfect meal supplement that will leave your guests praising your baking skills long after finishing the last bite. French bread doesn’t require special ingredients or cooking expertise and can be made from scratch in about an hour and a half.
If this is your first time making French bread on your own, follow the steps below closely, and by the end of it, you will have the best bread you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed.
Ingredients You Will Need
To make your own French bread, you will need to gather and measure out the following ingredients:
- One tablespoon of water
- One egg white
- Two cups of warm water
- One and a half teaspoons of salt
- Two and a half packets of active dry yeast
- Six cups of all-purpose flour
- One tablespoon of cornmeal
Method You Need To Follow
Once you have measured and set aside all your ingredients, you are ready to move on to the next steps: making the dough and getting it ready to go into your oven. Here are the nine steps you will need to follow to create the perfect French bread.
Step 1: Pre-grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle one tablespoon of cornmeal over it.
Step 2: Get a mixing bowl and combine two cups of all-purpose flour together with your yeast and salt. Slowly add two cups of warm water and stir. While continuously stirring, add the remaining four cups of all-purpose flour until everything has been thoroughly mixed.
Step 3: Once you have a consistent doughy texture, place your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough till it is smooth and elastic. This process should take around eight to ten minutes. Once you are done, roll your dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl, put it in sunlight, and wait for the dough to double. The dough should take about an hour to rise.
Step 4: Once the dough has finished rising, push it down with your fist, split the dough into two, and roll each piece over a lightly floured surface. Cover the dough with fabric and let it sit for roughly ten minutes.
Step 5: Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a rectangle. Starting on one side of the flat dough, roll the dough up and apply a little water to seal the end. Try tapering the ends to create the iconic French bread shape.
Step 6: Grab the baking sheet you prepared in step 1 and place your rolled-up loaves seam down onto the sheet. Mix one egg white and one tablespoon of water in a small bowl and beat the mixture lightly.
Using a small brush, brush some of the egg white and water mixture over the loaves, cover them with a damp cloth, and set them aside to rise for around 30 to 40 minutes.
Step 7: Prepare your oven for baking by preheating it to 375°F or 190°C.
Step 8: Uncover your loaves and use a sharp knife to cut 3 or 4 grooves into the loaves. Ensure that each cut is about a quarter of an inch deep. Place your loaves inside your oven and bake for roughly 20 minutes. Take your loaves out and brush them with the remaining egg white and water mixture. Place them back into the oven and continue baking them for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 9: Once your French bread loaves are finished baking, take them out of the oven, remove them from the baking sheet, and place them on a wire rack to let them cool down.
If you’ve followed these nine steps closely, you should have perfectly baked French bread to enjoy.
How To Enhance Your Freshly Baked French Bread
If you want to take your freshly baked French bread to the next level, consider topping it off with some garlic herb butter or enjoy it with some homemade jam. French bread is also a perfect companion to a nice vegetable soup.
If soup isn’t your thing, consider making a French dip sandwich using some roast beef and cheese, or turn your French bread into croutons and add them to a lovely summer salad.
How To Store Your Freshly Baked French Bread
If you haven’t decided how you would like to serve your French bread, don’t stress. You can store your freshly baked French bread inside a bag in the bread bin for up to three days. If you don’t have a bread bin or a plastic bag, you can use some aluminum foil instead.
How To Freeze Your Freshly Baked French Bread
If you need to store your French bread for an extended period, wrap it up in parchment paper and aluminum foil and place it into your freezer. French bread can be stored this way for up to three months. When you are ready to eat it, take it out of the deep freeze and let it thaw at room temperature. Reheat it in the oven at 400°F for 5 minutes, and it’s as good as new.
French bread is easy to make and doesn’t require any specialized equipment or training. Anyone can make a simple French bread in a matter of hours and serve a large family, depending on how it’s presented.