I wanted to learn how to make French bread the other day so that I could serve it with dinner that night. Come to find out, most authentic French breads take a long time to make, sometimes even having to sit overnight. I then realized I should have thought of this the night before so I could have started it by now. Not accepting defeat, I looked further into making French bread and found a few relatively quick “French” breads to make. Now, I wouldn’t go serving this French bread to a French citizen proclaiming that you have made their native bread. Since the bread only takes a little over two hours to make, it might not be what I consider authentic “French” bread. But, it is totally okay with me because it was still delicious fresh bread that I could make and serve within a day!
As soon as it came out of the oven, my boyfriend and I devoured a good part of the bread. I whipped up some fresh tomato bruschetta (which I will give you my recipe for tomorrow) and we ate it with the warm French bread. I have made this bread a couple of more times, each time being even better than the last. I swear one day I will make the 24 hour versions of French bread, but for now in my busy life I am loving the quick one!
- 1 package of dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
- 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
- 3 cups of bread flour (or about 12.75 oz.)
- 1 tsp. salt
- Cooking spray
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- Place warm water into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let yeast dissolve for 5 minutes.
- Measure out the bread flour by weighing with a scale or spooning into a measurement cup and scraping the top off with a knife. Put flour and salt into a food processor with a dough attachment and pulse 2-3 times until combined (I also tried using a stand mixer to make this recipe and it worked out fine).
- With food processor or mixer on, slowly add the yeast into the flour mixture. Mix until dough forms a ball. Continue to mix for 1 more minute. Take dough out of food processor/mixer and place on a lightly floured surface. Lightly knead 4-5 times.
- Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and place ball of dough in bowl, turning to coat with cooking spray. Cover dough and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Placing dough in a warm draft free place is key. *To test if bread is finished rising, push dough in the center with fingers, if the indentation stays the dough is done rising.
- Take dough out of bowl and punch dough down and shape into a 12x8 inch rectangle. Working with the 12 inch side, roll the dough up pressing firmly to prevent air pockets. Pinch the dough to seal the seams of the dough. Roll the dough slightly to lengthen the shape and place seam down on a baking sheet.
- Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes or until double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Uncover the dough and with a sharp knife make three 3 inch slashes on top of the bread, equal distances apart. Combine the tablespoon of water and egg white. Brush the mixture on the bread with a pastry brush, making sure the exposed dough gets brushed with the egg white mixture.
- Place the bread on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Best eaten within the first few days