This is my favorite French Bread recipe. It’s fabulous made with all white flour, but it’s equally good made with half white and half whole wheat flour. The result is a nice crust, with perfect French bread texture inside.
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This mixes up quickly with my mid-size KitchenAid mixer and the recipe yields two loaves of French Bread. The bread freezes really well, too.
You can, of course, just shape the bread into French Bread shaped loaves on a baking sheet. However, if there is any way that you can get your hands on a couple of Pyrex Bake-A-Round Bread Baking Tubes, do so!! I bought mine several years ago on e-bay. In addition to Amazon and e-bay, check thrift stores, antique shops and your mom and grandma’s cupboards to see if there are any languishing unused there. These make the BEST french bread ever!
5 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon melted butter
7 cups all purpose flour (NOT bread flour)
Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixing bowl. Add salt, butter and flour. Mix on low speed (using dough hook) until well blended. Then knead (I set the Kitchen Aid on speed 2 for this) for about two minutes. The dough will be sticky. Place dough in oiled bowl (I use olive oil), and turn dough to oil top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and divide in half. Place each half into well greased *Bake-A-Round tube. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes. Remove from tubes immediately and cool on racks. (I have also sprinkled sesame seeds liberally into the greased tubes before adding the dough).
* If you don’t have the baking tubes, you can just shape the dough into french bread loaves and place on a greased baking sheet.You will need to add just a bit more flour for a stiffer dough to do this, though.