French bread is a favorite dinner bread. Its famous crust is made by baking the loaves at 400 degrees F for the first 5 minutes and then misting the loaves with water. The oven temperature is then dropped to 350 degrees F and the bread bakes for another 25 minutes. The result is a bread that everyone will love.
Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
- 2 cups warm water, 95 to 110 degrees F
- 2-1/4 tsp or 1 pkg (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 5-1/2 cups bread flour, about
- 1 egg white
- Sesame or poppy seeds
- In large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir until dissolved. Mix in flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead it for about 8 minutes. Put dough in greased bowl and flip dough over so that the dough top is also lightly greased. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until double in size.
- Punch down dough. Give dough a quick 2-minute knead. Divide dough into 2 equal halves. Shape each half into a long loaf. Place loaves onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Make about 5 diagonal slits, 3/4 inch deep, into the top of each loaf. Cover loaves and let rise for 45 minutes or until double in size.
- Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Brush loaves with egg white and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from oven and use mister to spray the tops of loaves with cold water. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F and bake breads for another 25 minutes or until done. Remove loaves from baking sheet and let cool on rack.