I’ve been kneading to share this life-changing recipe with all of you! Nowadays with the mass production of bread, it’s rare that we get to taste an authentic baked loaf free of any preservatives. As a bread lover, I savor any piece of bread that is warm, chewy, and soft with a slightly crunchy crust. Pita bread. Bread bowls. Ciabatta. French bread. Breadsticks. Garlic Bread. The list could go on and on. It’s endless and lovely that we get to enjoy this food in so many different ways. The simplicity of this recipe along with some patience will lead to some fluffy and addicting bread. I’ve already made it twice and there will be many more to come haha.
Bakery Style French Bread
**Don’t forget to check out my tips below**
Time Prep: 15 min; Kneading: 1 hr; Rising: 30 min; Baking: 30 min
- 1 ½ tablespoons (2 packets) instant yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons of honey (or sugar)
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ tablespoons oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 6 cups of flour
- 1 egg white
- Combine the yeast, warm water, and honey in a small bowl and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will notice that it will bubble up and start to foam.
- Add the yeast mixture to a large bowl and mix in the 2 cups of water, oil, salt, and flour until well incorporated.
- Mix in the last 3 cups of flour gradually.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes on a well-floured surface.
- For the next hour, knead the dough 3-4 times every 10 minutes.
- Form into 2 large loaves or 4 medium loaves. To get a smooth shape, form a rectangular shape and fold in the sides to the middle a few times.
- Brush them with the beaten egg white. Slash a few diagonal lines into each of the loaves.
- Let the dough rise for 30 minutes or until double in size. Brush again with the remaining egg white before putting them into the oven.
- Bake at 400 F° for 10 minutes and then at 350 F° for 20 minutes.
-There are two types of yeast you will notice at the grocery store, instant (rapid-rise) yeast and active dry yeast. They function the same, but active dry yeast needs to be added to water to activate the yeast. The instant yeast, which I recommend for this recipe, can be added along with the rest of your ingredients without “activating” it first. I do it as a precaution to make sure that the yeast is good, because it is a live bacteria. If the yeast does not bubble or dissolve when mixed with the honey and water, then your yeast is too old or dead and then your bread will not rise.
-To keep track of how long you have been kneading your dough, you can write out the 10 minute intervals on a paper and check them off every time you knead.
-If you do not have a KitchenAid mixer, you can also make this recipe by hand by using a wooden spoon to mix it. It will just take longer to mix and knead, but you will have the same results.
-Kneading the dough every 10 minutes for an hour is what helps your dough become chewy. When you are kneading it, punch the dough down and fold the dough over a few times. It doesn’t have to be exact either at the 10 minute mark. As long as you knead it sometime before or after that mark , then you will be fine. A good goal to hit is coming back to the dough 6 times within the hour.
-If you notice that the dough is too sticky, in that it sticks to your hands and you are unable to knead it, then just add additional flour gradually (about 1/4 cup at a time). You can test out to see if the dough is right by taking a little piece and rolling it into a ball. If it is too sticky to roll into a ball, then you need more flour.
-Here is another good site for some great solutions to common problems at RedStar Yeast.
Recipe adapted from ItsAlwaysAutumn
Step By Step French Bread Guide
Your initial ingredients for “proofing” the yeast. Proofing basically means that you are proving that the yeast is alive.
When you add all of the ingredients together, the water will dissolve the coating around the yeast. Once this yeast is activated, it will work on the honey/sugar and start to foam up.
You can notice here that the yeast has grown and is foamy. This is the proof that the yeast is active and we can now add it to our bread.
The yeast after 10 minutes: active and foamy.
All of the ingredients ready to mix together. (don’t worry about the shaker in the middle: yes those little pink granules are salt haha it’s just a different type-Himalayan salt)
Mixing together all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
Your dough should be hanging off of your dough hook and not too sticky. If it is too sticky for you to knead, then add a 1/4 cup of flour or more as needed.
Dough ready to be kneaded on a well-floured surface.
Final step: shaping the dough and brushing it with the egg white. Don’t forget to make a couple slashes about ½ inch deep.
The golden brown color that the egg whites give it just tops it off with a nice crunch.
Yum! Sliced and ready to serve.