Alright, it’s time to get back in gear. The holidays truly have a way of wiping out all motivations to do anything productive, don’t they? Hence, the reason why I haven’t written any blog posts recently. I’m sorry. Really, I am. To make up for it, I’m going to show you a super easy French bread recipe that looks and tastes like it came straight from a bakery. Even if in the past, the thought of using live yeast to make homemade bread sent you into fight-or-flight mode, I’m telling you… This is pretty much fail-proof. It’s the perfect bread recipe to help you over your bread-making fears and into a glorious world filled with never-ending carb-feasting possibilities.
In this recipe, we’ll use an egg wash to give the crust a golden shine, and I’ll tell you the easiest way to know when your bread is done. That nugget of knowledge alone will make your time spent reading this post worth it. Truly.
So here’s what you do. In an electric stand mixer, throw in 2 ½ cups hot water, 1 T. salt, 2 T. sugar, 3 T. oil, 2 T. yeast, and 6-7 cups bread flour, and mix for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
Grease a sheet pan and sprinkle some cornmeal on it.
Divide the dough in half, and form two long-ish loaves with it. Yeah… I know you’re lusting after my gold-speckled 70’s countertops.
Take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut a few slits in the top, just to make it perty.
Let the loaves rise until almost doubled, maybe 40 minutes. As you can see, the loaf on the left got a little more love than the loaf on the right. And that’s okay.
Now let’s give that bread a lovely, dark-golden sheen. We do that by brushing a beaten egg all over each loaf. Lather that baby up!
Bake the bread at 400°F for 21-23 minutes. So how do you know if it’s done? Stick a thermometer into one of the bread loaves. When it reads 190°F, it’s perfect! Take it out! I learned that trick from a sweet old lady who lives by me, and my life has been changed forever. Thank you, little old lady.
This bread is best the day of. If you won’t be using all of it, stick it in the freezer and pull it out the next time you’re craving some homemade French bread—which will probably be tomorrow if you’re like me. :)