Well those of you who follow along with us at Our Old Homestead knows how much we love homemade bread. I have had many posts with different bread recipes and will continue to do so. I hope you don't get sick of them!
This time ..... French bread ..... and wow is this stuff good!
I found this recipe on Pinterest again. I actually must have another 15 or so different bread recipes in queue to try.
Naomi over at Sugar and Spice is where this fabulous recipe originated. It is delicious and EASY.
Easy French Bread
Makes two large loaves
Prep time: 3 hours, start to finish, including rising times
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. or one packet of dry active yeast
2 c. lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
Approx. 5+ cups of all purpose flour
1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. cold water to glaze
In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 c. lukewarm water, 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1 Tbsp. dry active yeast. Stir to combine and let this rest about 10 minutes, until risen and bubbly.
Warning: do NOT use hot water ..... it will kill the yeast.
While the yeast is rising, combine the rest of the water, sugar, salt, and oil in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the risen yeast mixture and about 2 cups of flour. Stir to combine. If you are mixing the bread by hand (as I did), continue adding flour in small amounts until the mixture is difficult to combine by stirring.
Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a work surface generously dusted with flour and knead, adding flour, until the mixture forms a smooth soft dough. If using an electric mixer, add flour in small amounts, and scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl often. When the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl on its own, it should be ready. The consistency should be stiff, spongy, and slightly sticky.
Turn the dough into a greased mixing bowl and cover with plastic. Let this rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in bulk.
Note: you can test the dough by sticking your finger into it. If the indentation bounces back, it needs to rise some more -- if it remains, it is done.
Grease your hands with a little oil, punch the dough down and divide into two sections. Roll the dough into long loaves, folding the dough and pinching it underneath to make it smooth.
Using a sharp knife ( I used a serrated knife ), score three slits in the dough about 1/4 inch deep. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another 35 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Beat one egg with 1 tsp cold water and brush on top of the loaves. You can sprinkle black pepper, poppy seeds or sesame seeds on the top at this point if you wish ( I made one plain and one with sesame seeds ). Let the loaves rise uncovered this time for another 10 minutes.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden bread and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool on wire racks.
This bread is amazing. Spread some butter and homemade jam and oh la la, you are in for a treat! Happy baking and remember to give your loved ones a hug!