French Bread

French Bread

4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 packaged (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

In a large bowl, of a mixer, combine flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center of these ingredients. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature. Beat thoroughly, using a dough hook, until dough is soft and elastic, about 12 minutes on low speed.
Cover dough with a clean cloth, or put in an oiled bowl, turn it once to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees F) until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Punch down the dough.

Shape dough into desired shape(s), and place on a greased baking sheet. (Leave enough room between shapes) Cover loaves with a clean cloth. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk. Score the tops of the loaves.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In the bottom of the oven, preheat a baking pan. Fill with 1 cup water; it should steam. Bake the bread on the oven's center rack for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake about 30 minutes longer. Bake until the crust is golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool on a wire rack, completely, before slicing.

Yield: 1 very large loaf, or 2 medium loaves


  1. I just bought this cookbook. I made some hamburger pie thing with a toast crust. My husband loved it. Me, eh. It had corn. I don't like corn mixed in with other foods. It looks like puke to me. Happy New Year!

  2. Beautiful looking bread. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I love bread -- better than sweets. This looks wonderful. Happy New Year, I look forward to seeing what you cook up this year.

  4. sounds (and looks) amazing. as for what you ate over New Year, everyone knows the calories consumed at NY don't count . . . right??? :)

  5. Amy- I think I'm with you. I don't like corn mixed in with stuff, that often. Yes, it does look pukey to me.
    Happy New Year!

    Sue- Thanks! Happy New Year to you!

    Anj- Me too. Me too.

    Princess Polly- I like the way you think.

  6. That looks great! and bread baking is so much fun too!!

    Happy New Year to you too girl!

  7. I've made French bread a few times, and am always surprised at how easy it is.

    Happy New Year - I'm looking forward to what you post in 2008!

  8. nice looking bread.Remind me that I need to make bread too. Happy New Year to you !

  9. Happy New Year Emiline!!!

    Your bread looks exceptional. Way to go.

  10. Can't beat natural light for food (or any) photography. Bread looks great!

  11. Mansi- Bread baking is fun. And stressful. Not this one, though.

    Deb- Happy New Year to you!

    Mandy- I love baking bread, because it gives me a break from all the super sweet stuff.

    Jenn- Thanks!

    Heather- My pictures aren't the greatest, but thank you.

    Emily- Thanks.

  12. Wow! Great bread!

    I just noticed we're both Cancers. I'm not sure what that means...