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Easy Homemade French Bread

One of the easiest recipes for versatile homemade bread. 

Author Sunup to Sundown

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp honey or sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6-7 cups flour (we use 3 cups all-purpose and 3 cups wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 egg
  • non-stick spray

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cups warm water with the years and honey (or sugar).  Stir until the yeast is fully dissolved.  Let sit for 3-4 minutes. 

  2. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the salt.  When fully mixed, add the yeast/water mixture from the small bowl.  Stir to combine well. 

  3. Add 6 cups of flour to dough mixture.  Stir well by hand until fully combined (or use dough hook and stand mixer).  If the dough is way too sticky, add a bit more flour a little at a time, until mixture is no sticky. 

  4. Form the dough into a ball.  Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray or lightly oil the bowl.  Add the dough ball to the bowl; turn dough over, to coat sides with spray or oil.  

  5. Cover bowl with a tea towel, and let rise for 30-60 minutes in a warm place, free from drafts.  The dough should double in size.  Once doubled in size, divide the dough in half. 

  6. Roll each section of dough out (like making a pie) on a very lightly floured work surface.  We like to roll dough out onto a clean towel so that your mess stays on this towel.  

  7. Shape the dough into a 9-10 inch long rectangular shape.  Using your clean hands, roll up the dough, starting with the long edge of the dough and roll tightly up into a loaf shape.  Tuck the edges in slightly and carefully transfer the "loaf" onto a greased or sprayed sheet pan.  We prefer to use a silpat sheet and sprinkle cornmeal onto this so that the bread doesn't stick to the silpat sheet.  

  8. Using a very sharp knife, make diagonal slits (about an inch deep) across the tops of each loaf.  Cover the loaves with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise again, for one hour, or until dough loaves have doubled in size.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees during the last 15 minutes of rising time.  

  9. In a small bowl, beat together one egg and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush this mixture over the top of each loaf.  

  10. Bake bread at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Remove loaves to wire rack.  Let bread cool slightly before slicing, for best results.  Enjoy!