Tuesday, July 15, 2008

French Bread

I got this recipe from Lovella G. ( another Lovella, and another great friend) way back when our kids went to the same elementary school. This recipe has become sort of a "staple" kind of recipe for a quick bread, for pizza crust, pizza buns, focaccia bread or baguettes (used for spinach dip etc) As you can see - It is a must have! =)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups hot tap water
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour, white - can be half whole wheat or multigrain *
  • 2 Tbsp instant yeast

Method:
  1. Put sugar, oil, salt and hot water in a large mixing bowl. You can also use a mixer that has a dough hook attachment or your breadmachine.  
  2. Add 1 cup of the flour mixed with the yeast, then the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Add flour until dough comes away from side of bowl or easily holds together in a ball shape and is not too sticky if you handle it with floured hands. Cover bowl with wax paper and tea towel.
  3. Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour. Divide in half.
  4. Roll out on a slightly floured surface to about 12"x15” rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style, beginning at longer end, and place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cut diagonal slits on top. Cover.
  5. Let rise about 30 - 45 min. Brush with mixture of 1 egg and 2 Tbsp milk, whisked with fork.
  6. Bake at 400F for 20 min, or until golden. Remove to rack to cool.
* Flour purchased in the USA may need a tsp of vital wheat gluten added to the flour




For Pizza:
Instead of rolling out the dough, just divide and press onto 2 pizza pans. Bake at 400F until light golden - just done. About 10 minutes.
Spread lightly with pizza or spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with any cold cuts you want . . . ham, salami, pepperoni, cooked hamburger (left over sloppy joe sauce) or cooked chicken, slivered peppers, grated cheese (mozzarella, or assortment). Sprinkle with oregano and basil. Bake at 375 F, about 15 min.

focaccia bread:
Add about 1 Tbsp of each (fresh if possible) thyme, oregano, rosemary, chopped into tiny bits,
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1- 2 tsp garlic powder to the dough, as you're mixing it. Cover and let rise.
Press dough into 2 - 8 X 8 greased pans. Make indentations with end of wooden spoon and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal and rosemary (optional)
Cover and rise 1/2 hour. Bake until light golden, about 25 - 30 minutes. Serve with Olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

dipping bread:
Use any kind of combination of flour and grains that you like, roll out to make long skinny loaves (baguettes) and slice at an angle. Great with Spinach dip.
Maybe this is too much information, but it's there to give you ideas on what you can do and I hope you try something new and enjoy it.

55 comments:

  1. Oh Anneliese, if I've said it once i will say it again...I want to sit in your kitchen and l-e-a-r-n... Hmmm Hmm...you must have the happiest household. That is one recipee and one good looking loaf of bread you made there. Wonderful!

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  2. I have one small bowl of summer borscht left that is begging for a slice of bread. Oh it looks wonderful Anneliese. I still can't remember making this exact recipe but I sure will be making it now.

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  3. Oh yummy another bread recipe..I love breads! Thanks Anneliese for this recipe, I want to try the pizza buns too.

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  4. i haven't actually tried any of your recipes yet, but just wanted to let you ladies know that i LOVE your blog. the recipes are fun to read and your thoughts about them are homey and the pictures are lovely!

    Rhonda

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  5. I am so impressed with your culinary skills.... Your blog is a sheer delight to visit. Marion

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  6. This bread is wonderful! No kneading and so easy and quick! Thanks so much! <><

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  7. This really is a great recipe. I made it yesterday. . really quick .. did half whole wheat flour and it was just great. .

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  8. this is the second time I've done pizza rolls and they have been a hit each time.

    Mine doesnt get as tall but I just realized I'm using active yeast and not instant.

    regardless, this is great for the lunchbox and my kids love them. Thanks for taking the time to teach and share.

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  9. I've used this recipe for pizza buns and the foccacia bread. Both were delicious. I've used combinations of all-purpose flour, whole wheat, and multigrain and its all been good! YUM!

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  10. My sister was making lasagna to have at my mom's for dinner a couple of weeks ago, so I told her I would bring the bread. This was an easy one to make, and it turned out great! Everyone enjoyed it. Thank you!

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  11. This recipe looks simple and absolutely delicious. Can't wait to try it out! Thanks for all the great recipes!

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  12. LOVE this recipe! I always expected that French Bread must be difficult but you've made it so simple; thank you!

    I've enjoyed reading your blog for quite some time now - thanks so much for sharing.

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  13. Made this wonderful bread with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans last night. Boy was it good! I am so impressed with how easy it was to make and hot little time it took. This one is seriously a keeper! I will use it to make pizza this weekend! Thank you so much for the recipe, pictures, and other tips!!! I sure love this website.

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  14. I just love reading your recipes on this website. the only down-side, is that I can get very side-tracked for a very long time !! LOL!! I have made this exact recipe for years, can't remember where I got it. I have not used it for pizza, but I will try it. I really like that this makes two loaves. Often I make it when we are having company in. Sometimes, the entire extra loaf is left over and then I send it home with our guests. It seems that you and I cook/bake many of the same things, I'm sure we would make great friends!

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  15. This is the first loaf of bread I have made from scratch - no bread machine - and it's so easy and so good it's become my go to bread recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  16. I LOVE this website. I made this bread today and my family was so impressed! They ate the first loaf so fast I'm surprised they didn't burn their mouths. There is nothing like fresh bread out of the the oven with butter on it.

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  17. Mmmmm, bread! I want to try this recipe and was wondering if that's all-purpose flour or bread flour? Thank you, love your website!

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  18. Linda,
    You can use any flour you like. I have not used bread flour, but have mixed a multigrain four with unbleached white flour and it turns out very nice.

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  19. Thank you again, Anneliese, can't wait to try this...and so many more!!

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  20. I know I'm a latecomer in commenting on this recipe...but oh my, yummy! I've just gotten around to trying it. It was so easy, both risings went quickly, and it had such a nice texture.

    AND I'm loving the idea of baking it on parchment paper. Cleanup was a breeze. Thanks, Anneliese!

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  21. I made this a few days ago but it didn't rise. I halfed the recipe so I'm not sure if that is what ruined it. The bread was really dense and dry, but my husband loved it anyway with his bowl of soup. Today I tried it again (full recipe) and it was beautiful!!! This time I made pizza out of it and it was absolutely wonderful! Very soft and fluffy. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog and all the great recipes.

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  22. To the last anonymous - I'm impressed that you tried again ... and it worked so well! Sometimes we just don't know what we did wrong the first time... my first cinnamon buns were little rocks ... but the next time they wre huge soft rolls ... so I'm also glad I did not give up. Thank you for your comment!

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  23. Thanks Anneliese. Your picture was so beautiful I knew I couldn't give up on this recipe without trying them again. I have to tell you I'm in love with this recipe! Today I made it again but this time in bread form. They came out beautiful! Going to have Meatball subs :) I've already used it three times this week! Keep up the great work!

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  24. This is a great French bread receipe. Really easy to make.
    Thanks so much.
    Doreen

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  25. I have a favorite bread recipe that I've been making for several months, but I wanted to try a simpler, less-time-required one, and this was it! My husband declared this was the best bread I've made and wants me to abandon my other recipe! Thanks for the post!

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  26. I love this recipe.. just wondering if you can freeze the dough once its made if you don't want to bake it right away?

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  27. Anonymous, about freezing the bread dough. I have never done that, but I'd try it, if I had to. You could also refrigerate it for a few days and take it out, shape it into loaves and let them rise.
    Let us know how it worked for you.

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    Replies
    1. I've just frozen the dough and thawed it for several hours before baking. Turned out beautifully.

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  28. 2 tbsp of yeast...this seems to be alot. I only use active dry, what would be the substitution?

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  29. Annonymous, you could use 1 1/2 or 2 Tbsp active dry yeast mixed with the 2 Tbsp sugar and let it proof with 1/2 cup warm water before adding in the rest of the ingredients...adding 1 1/2 cups warm water instead of 2. Two Tbsp of yeast allows for a quick, big rise.Be sure the yeast is not outdated.

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  30. I love bread and had a recipe I have tried (and failed with) several times.

    This one is simple and has provided good results in the 3 times I have made it so far. Last night I made hamburger buns for dinner using this recipe. They were really good. Thank you for posting this recipe!

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  31. This recipe is wonderful!!! I made bread bowls for soup from it tonight!!!! Made it the same way but split the dough into 4 balls, let it rise awhile, cooked it, and then cut a whole in the middle. It was fantastic!

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  32. Made this yesterday. Tastes wonderful. Thanks for the great recipe!

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  33. Baked bread for the first time today. I've always been really nervous about baking with yeast - until today. This was so easy and sooooo delicious. My husband and I polished off half a loaf in no time flat! It's so quick and easy, I'm going to try and do it more often to eliminate buying the store bought stuff.
    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Love to hear this! Once you get comfortable with this one, you can do so many things with just this recipe... pizza buns, cheesesticks,pizza crust, hamburger buns ... and you can do half whole wheat or multigrain, if you like.

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  34. Hello Anneliese, I feel silly asking this question as everyone else seems to understand what you mean:

    "...mixing the yeast with a little flour and adding that while dough is still very soft..." Would you please clarify? Did you mean to say that we should add water to the yeast and then add that to the dough while it is very soft? (Probably not….but I am confused!).

    I've made this recipe once before and it was really wonderful. The problem I encountered was that when I tried to follow your recipe, I was not exactly sure about the yeast instructions.

    The instant yeast is basically tiny, tiny grains. When I added them to a bit of dry flour and then added that to the already mixed ingredients as you instructed, those grains rolled all over the place. I know...everyone here is likely snickering!!...silly question I know...but I do not get this step! I do not have a mixer and I mixed the ingredients in a bowl. I am wondering if you meant to add the yeast to a bit of warm water and then add that to the mixed ingredients of soft dough. (Probably not....but I am confused!)

    The grains of yeast made the dough a bit "bumpy". That's why I am wondering if we are to mix the yeast with a bit of warm water first (If so, how much, for how long).

    Also, I kneaded by hand. Was not sure how long to knead...just kept kneading until I got tired (I do not often make bread....obvious...no?) :-)

    Anyway, I did make this bread once already and my family loved it (tasted just slightly yeasty or undercooked though...slightly...another reason I thought to email you...perhaps I should have baked a bit longer?...or was it my yeast dilemma?)

    I also found that the crust was not crispy, it was soft. Is this the norm for this recipe…or could I have done something wrong?

    One last question, I like the idea of mixing whole wheat with all-purpose. What would you recommend... ½ whole wheat and ½ all-purpose? Or, do you recommend another combination of measurements? What about if we use multi-grain flour?

    These questions probably sound so funny to you...lol...I feel embarrassed writing them…but still curious for your answers as I’d love to make this recipe often!

    Despite all my questions, the loaves were still lovely and my family of 2 adults and 2 children under 8...ate 1 entire warm loaf at dinner time! I used the 2nd loaf next day for garlic bread…yummy! So much for "low-carbs"...

    Marilyn

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    1. Marilyn, I can see how you'd be confused if this was your first time mixing up bread dough. It is not really a dumb question, because you can mix the instant yeast right into the flour or into a wet dough or mix it with some warm water ... I believe the instructions ar on the yeast package. For this recipe, I put the salt, sugar, oil, hot water and maybe a cup or two of flour into a bowl. Mix it and then add the yeast right into that or mix the yeast with a bit of flour and add it to the warm dough... then I continue stirring and adding about 1/2 cup of flour at a time until you can't stir it any more. Knead it by hand and shape it until it's smooth. Cover with a tea towel, and platic bag - just laid on top to produce a bit of humidity. Divide and roll as instructed in the method. Rise again.. Be sure to bake long enough... until a good dark golden brown. It will be crispy at first and soften. It will not be as crispy as some of the purchased French bread that is so crispy that the crust crumbles when you slice it.
      As for mixing the flour with multigrain or whole wheat... you can mix in whatever proportion you like. I would suggest half white and half whole wheat or multigrain to try at first and blend according to your taste the next time.

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    2. Thank you so much for your quick, generous and thorough reply! I made this bread again today, this time adding 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 3 cups of all-purpose white flour. Both lovaes are already gone!! It was still a bit doughy in taste....but I guess I need to let it bake a bit longer. The bottom was slightly browning too much though....trial and error until I get it right I guess. Love your site!
      Marilyn
      ps - Although I am still very limited with respect to bread baking expereince, I have baked bread before, but never in this manner. Have you tried the no-knead method popularized by the New York Times article a few years ago? It's wonderful! An 18 hour proofing but the results are amazing. There are many links to this recipe, but here is the NYT article and video: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU

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    3. If you find it bakes too quickly on the bottom... raise your oven rack so that the bread bakes in the top half of the oven. Like you say, it's a learning game.And yes.. I actualy baked that no-knead bread today. Love it!

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  35. How I love reading your blog, you girls are awesome:)
    Once I saw a loaf of fresh sliced Minnonite White Bread...and I am longing for it with a slow=cooked large pot of stew.

    Is it possible that you can direct me to a year of blogging in which you might have posted such a recipe.

    I have tried several of your awesome recipes so just thought I might ask.
    Thank you for all that you and your friends share,
    Gail

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  36. looks amazing! how many loaves does one recipe make?

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  37. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am a college student and teaching myself to cook. I tried baking bread for the first time today. The loaves came out beautifully and were delicious.

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  38. Hello,
    I have made this recipe twice now and followed it to the letter but mine is always tapered at the ends and NEVER is more than an inch thick in the middle. Can you tell me please what I am doing wrong?

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    1. I'm sorry about your experience... that is frustrating! With your bread being that flat, I'm guessing it has to do with your yeast. Be sure it is not outdated and maybe try a new pkg anyways. Also, if you are using regular yeast, instead of instant, the hot water can kill the yeast. You can use regular yeast, but need to follow the directions on the packaging for proofing and only use warm water. I hope you try again and let me know what happens.

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing! I just made my first two loaves and they are in the oven baking. They smell and look great. I can't wait for dinner to eat them. I have a feeling I will be making a lot of these.

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  40. I'm really enjoying your recipes. Please tell me where I may find sourdough recipes if you have them?

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    1. here is one .... http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2011/05/rye-bread.html

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    2. Hi Anneliese! I've made this a couple of times and enjoyed the flavour! I have also come up with a new variation! I made a half recipe, added some seasonings to the dough itself and created a pull apart/monkey bread that tastes like stuffing!!! I posted the recipe on my blog Dec 8/13 Here is the link: http://dnsyl57.blogspot.ca/2013/12/this-recipe-may-be-addictive.html Thank you for this recipe and inspiring us all to be creative! :-)

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  41. This has become my go to recipe for pizza. It is so easy to do in my Kitchen Aid ( which I am still getting to know). I find I never get away with less than about 51/2-almost 6 cups of flour. Not sure why. At any rate the family loves the crust on this and I made it tonight and got 3 good size pizzas out of it. Even though I like a thicker crust, last time when I only made 2 pizzas, it was too thick for even me! Good stuff!

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  42. I was wondering if the 2 TBSP's of yeast was the quick rise instant yeast. I find myself often confused in the yeast part of the store and asking any older woman who may have baked bread a question. Some are in packages and some are in jars. I used the Fleischmann's instant quick rise and hope it works!

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    1. Instant Quick Rise is correct. Hope you are enjoying the bread!

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  43. Anneliese, how long would you knead the bread as I don't have a bread machine. Have to use those arm muscles. :)

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    1. Maria, once the dough gets too hard to handle with a wooden spoon, use your hands to knead in the last of the flour and continue until all the four is well incorporated. The dough should be smooth and bouncy feeling. It helps to oil your hands if it is sticky. It may take five minutes, maybe a bit more.

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