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Simple Homemade French Bread

Welcome to day 3 of vegan month of cheese. So what does french bread have to do with it? Well if you’re going to put all that effort into making cultured cheese, you’d better have some damn good bread to put it on. And this is damn good bread. Click to the printable recipe.
four-french-bread-loaves-birds-eye
The perfect crusty french bread starts with the basics: yeast, water, flour and salt. Soft and fluffy on the inside, nice and crunchy on the outside, this bread requires very little effort but you will need a little patience.

Video Tutorial for Simple Homemade French Bread

 
I have blogged about french bread before; I even posted this recipe which I named Perfect Vegan French Bread. That recipe doesn’t take as long to make and stays moist and fresh longer because of the added Earth Balance buttery spread. It’s really delicious and great especially for dry climates. However, this Simple Homemade French Bread is more traditional. The crust is much…well, crustier. Like other traditional breads with no additives, it should be eaten in a day or two.

fluffy-french-bread-pulled-apart

Once you get the hang of this recipe, you may find yourself just making it while you do other stuff. The actual “active” time to this recipe is maybe 15 minutes. The rest of the time is waiting for the bread to rise, three times! The wait is worth it though.


 

Printable recipe for Simple Homemade French Baguettes

Simple Homemade French Bread
This traditional French Bread is adapted for the home. And like all traditional French Bread, it happens to be vegan!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup warm water
  2. 2 1/4 teaspoons traditional or instant yeast
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour (plus more for kneading)
Instructions
  1. Combine water with yeast and let bloom for 10 minutes.
  2. Add a half cup of flour and salt to the yeast mixture and whisk together until smooth.
  3. Add two more cups of flour and stir together until the dough comes together.
  4. Using clean hands, knead the dough into a ball. You may do this right in the bowl or turn it out to a floured surface. It may be stiff; just work it until it's a cohesive ball.
  5. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover and let rest for 15. This lets the gluten in the flour relax, making it easier to knead.
  6. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Ideally you would knead this for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rise for in a draft-free, warm location for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size. A good place for this is in the oven with just the oven light on.
  8. Punch down the dough and knead again for a few minutes.
  9. Place the dough back in the bowl to rise for a second time. Again, let it rise for one hour or until doubled in size in a warm location.
  10. Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down and divide the dough into equal pieces. You can make two large loaves or four smaller loaves.
  11. Shape them into long loaf shapes and place them on a baking pan lined with parchement paper.
  12. Cover the loaves with a damp, lint-free cloth and let rise for 45 minutes or until the loaves have doubled in size.
  13. Place a metal baking pan on the bottom rack in your oven. Place the second rack in the middle of the oven.
  14. Preheat the oven to 450 F (232 C).
  15. Prepare a spray bottle with water and, separately, a cup of cool or room temperature water.
  16. When the oven is hot, remove the cloth from the dough carefully. If the dough sticks to the cloth, drip some water on top of the cloth to help it release.
  17. Make slashes on the top of the loaves, either a few diagonally across the loaves or one slash down the length.
  18. When the oven is well-heated, place the loaves on the middle rack and quickly pour the cup of water in the baking pan below and close the oven door. Be careful as there will be steam.
  19. Bake for 25 minutes.
  20. Remove the loaves from the oven and cool them on a wire rack. The tops of the loaves should be golden brown and they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  21. Wait at least a half hour before slicing.
  22. Enjoy!
Mary's Test Kitchen http://www.marystestkitchen.com/
Showing 18 comments
  • Reply

    French bread rocks! I love making grilled cheese sandwiches with French bread and Daiya’s jalapeΓ±os garlic Havarti block. Your recipe looks divine!

    • Mary
      Reply

      Oh yum! That sounds great! Nice crusty grilled cheese. mmmm!

  • Melissa Bastian
    Reply

    Oooh… do I need to make this bread and then make homemade po boys on it? Yeah, I probably do…

    • Mary
      Reply

      Probably! πŸ˜€

  • John H.
    Reply

    You started the cravings. Out comes my bread machine. Fantastic. Keep up the good work.

    • Mary
      Reply

      Hahaha Thanks, John. πŸ™‚

  • kendy
    Reply

    wow! those are beautiful loaves of bread!

    • Mary
      Reply

      Thanks, kendy!

  • mithi
    Reply

    Hi good day,i have a question as i make my dough and rest for 1 hour my dough did not rise what wrong with that thank you

    • Mary
      Reply

      Hi mithi,
      It sounds like your yeast is dead. This can happen for two reasons. The yeast was already dead when you started or the yeast was killed when you added water that was too hot. To prevent this, be sure to follow step one in the recipe. This helps you check if the yeast is still alive. If it doesn’t bloom (ie no bubbles form, no movement), you need to buy new yeast. If it blooms at step one but your dough still didn’t rise, check that the water you used was only warm (not hot or very cold). The ideal temperature is 105 – 110Β°F. Good luck!
      -Mary

    • Mary
      Reply

      P.S. Sorry, one more explanation: make sure you let the dough rise in a warm location free from cold drafts. A cold environment will make the dough rise more slowly.

      Good luck!
      -Mary

  • Danielle
    Reply

    This was my first time making French bread (and I gave almost no experience making any kind of bread to begin with), and it turned out perfectly!!! Thank you! Great recipe! Super delicious!

  • Neva
    Reply

    Usually when I bake with yeast, I start with sugar and warm water to get the yeast going. Your recipe doesn’t have sugar. Just checking that this is correct. Thanks

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