French Bread

Making bread at home really isn’t that hard – it just takes a bit of time. An added bonus is just how amazing your home will smell.

The house smells amazing and when you pull this french bread out of the oven you will have a hard time waiting for it to cool down enough to slice.

The house smells amazing and when you pull this french bread out of the oven you will have a hard time waiting for it to cool down enough to slice.

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
1 tbsp sugar
1 2/3 cups warm water (105-115°F)
3 tablespoon olive oil

Dissolve sugar in 2/3 cup of the warm water, stir in yeast. Allow yeast to bloom for 15 minutes. Set aside the other 1 cup of warm water, adding the olive oil and vinegar.

Meanwhile – stir flour and salt together. When yeast has bloomed, stir into flour mixture along with the remaining cup of warm water and olive oil/vinegar mix.

It is pretty easy to do this in either food processor or stand mixer, using the dough hook – allow the machine to do some of the kneading for you – but take the time to finish the kneading yourself to feel the texture. You want a relatively soft,but firm dough.

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat with oil – cover, and allow to rest in a warm, draft free place.

45 – 60 minutes later it should have doubled in size. punch it down, turn again and allow to rise one more time until doubled.

Separate dough in half. Roll out and form loaves. Repeat with the other half. If you happen to have french loaf pans, grease well and allow to rise again in those pans. Most of us however don’t have those pans. I used my roaster, with parchment paper separating the two loaves.

Ready for the oven - if you like, give each loaf a few diagonal slices.

Ready for the oven – if you like, give each loaf a few diagonal slices.

Preheat oven to 425 – on lowest rack place 9 x 13 baking pan full of boiling water (hint – put baking pan in oven first, THEN fill with boiling water). On upper rack place baking tray with bread.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until crunchy and nicely browned.

Allow to cool slightly before slicing.