French Bread. When you think French Bread, do you think of the light, airy stuff you buy in a paper bag or a plastic sack at the grocery?? I used to buy it all of the time. When we moved to Bountiful 100 years ago, my friend Diane made a loaf of this bread for me. Wow, I thought. This is really good. That’s when I stopped buying French bread at the grocery and started making French Bread at home.
This bread has a chewy texture, without being too dense. It’s beautiful and golden. And the recipe makes two HUGE loaves! When I asked Diane for the recipe, she told me that it turned out perfect every time (this is the Pollyanna coming out in her, I thought). But she was right. In all of the years I have been making this bread, I have never failed.
Great things about this bread- It really is so easy. It blows the socks off of that grocery store French Bread you have been buying. It makes the best french toast. Make this recipe tonight or tomorrow, and save a loaf for French Toast. You can thank me later 🙂
Diane’s No Fail French Bread
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon (yes tablespoon) salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cups flour, divided ( I often use 2 cups of bread flour)*
1 egg, beaten- for glazing bread
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
In a separate large bowl combine hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour. Stir well.
Add the yeast mixture to the hot water-flour mixture. Mix together with large wooden spoon or paddle attachment.
Add the remaining 3 cups of flour a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
After all of the flour is added and mixed in, let sit in bowl for 10 minutes.
When the dough has risen, stir down with a large spoon. If making in a stand mixer, turn the machine on low for a few seconds until the dough is deflated.
Repeat 5 times, every ten minutes, for a total of 60 minutes of rising and then punching down.
Divide the dough in half. Roll each half of dough in a 9×12 rectangle on a floured surface.
Roll the dough up like a jelly roll (long way). Place the dough on a greased baking pan (jelly roll pan), with the seam side down. Both loaves fit on one pan.
Score the bread across the top 3 or 4 times, and brush with beaten egg.
Let rise for 20-30 minutes in warm place.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes in lower half of oven, until golden brown. Or you may bake at 350 convection for 15-20 minutes.
Yield 2 large loaves French bread
-I often add 1-2 cups bread flour, in place of the all purpose flour. When doing this, I use 2 cups bread flour and 3 1/2 -4 cups All Purpose flour. Watch the amount of flour if you add bread flour. In some cases, you will need only 3 1/2 cups of additional All Purpose flour. Do not add too much flour, the dough will be too stiff and hard to handle.
-I make this in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment until you have mixed in the first 3 cups of flour. Then switch to the dough hook to mix in the final 3 cups of flour.
-I often forget the mixing down step (5 times every 10 minutes) and have never had a problem with the bread turning out perfect. Just make sure the bread raises in the bowl until it has almost doubled in size, or for about 45 minutes. Then proceed to the rolling out step.