I cannot believe I just learned how to make bread. I made homemade french bread and it was amazing.
Today I am Sharing a Great French Bread Recipe. If you have been intimidated to make yeast bread, never fear. I have all of the tips for you here!
Before I tell you about this amazing french bread that I made, I need to tell you something. This was the first time I had ever made yeast bread.
That still seems a little bit crazy to me. Because I cook every day, I’m not sure why I had never made bread before. I am so happy I finally conquered this fear and I can’t wait to show you how to make bread.
Plus, I made it in our kitchen in our Waco Airbnb.
I make a ton of quick bread and muffins and I have shared my recipes for cranberry orange scones, banana muffins, pumpkin muffins, apple bread, and strawberry crumble muffins on my blog. I just never managed to “graduate” to yeast bread.
The Nuts and Bolts of How to Make Bread
I think I was a bit intimidated about working with yeast. And I now know that makes no sense. It’s so easy!
The ingredients to make french bread are items you are likely to have in your pantry. They are flour, sugar, salt, oil, and yeast. If you have yeast in your pantry, be sure to check the expiration date. Expired yeast usually leads to flat bread. Click here to learn how to know if your yeast is still good.
Active dry yeast and instant (or rapid-rise) yeast are the two most common yeasts available. But it can be confusing to know which one to use. The two yeasts can be used interchangeably, but active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before use. Instant yeast can be mixed right into the dough.
Let It Rise, Twice
The recipe for my french bread is below. Yeast bread is great to make if you are going to be home because you do need to let it rise for an hour … twice. Since I had a bunch of errands to run today, I just ran them when my bread was rising.
Kneading the bread was the part I was not looking forward to, but I kneaded all of my bread with my KitchenAid mixer and it was so easy! It is a little bit mesmerizing to watch my KitchenAid mix and knead and I love it. (If you don’t have a KitchenAid, click here to learn how to convert the recipe to hand kneading.)
Letting the yeast bread rise is a very simple process. I sprayed the bowl and one side of my plastic wrap with cooking spray and placed the dough in the bowl covered with the plastic wrap. Like clockwork, it had doubled in size in an hour.
Once the bread has risen, cut the dough in half and press it on a cooking surface into two 10″ x 14″ rectangles.
As you can see from the picture above, the rectangle does not need to be perfect.
Starting on the 14″ side, roll the dough like a jelly roll, being sure to press out any air bubbles. Cut diagonal slats on top and place each loaf, seam side down, on a separate cookie sheet. Cover and let rise an hour.
Once the loaves have doubled in size, move to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Look how gorgeous this loaf of french bread looks! I cannot believe I finally know how to make bread.
I had a slice of warm french bread as soon as it came out of the oven. It was heavenly!
It tastes even better than it looks. Here is the recipe.
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 tbl sugar
- 1 tbl instant or active dry yeast (one packet)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbl olive oil
- 6 cups bread flour
Attach the dough hook to an electric stand mixer and add the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for three to five minutes.
Add the salt, oil and half (3 cups) of flour. Mix for one minute. Add the remaining three cups of flour, one-quarter cup at a time. You want the consistency of dough which isn't sticky to your fingers. If it is too wet, add a bit of flour until it won't stick to your fingers. Knead in the mixer for three to four minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about an hour until doubled.
Remove the dough and place on a lightly greased surface (I used parchment paper with cooking spray). Pat each half portion into a thick rectangle, approximately 10X14-inches. Roll the dough in jelly-roll style, starting from the long edge. Press out any air bubbles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, seam side down.
Take a sharp knife and slice cuts diagonally about 2" apart. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let the loaves rise for about an hour until they are nearly double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake on the center rack.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and on top.
Serve warm with butter.
I love serving bread with just about any menu, but I especially love it with pasta and salads.