French bread is hands-down my favorite bread of all time. It’s simple and to the point deliciousness. It doesn’t have to be pretty. In fact, I think it’s more interesting the odder it looks.
French bread is also a great beginner bread. You only need the basics: water, flour, and yeast. Now, to make more interesting french bread, you need to add some salt and sugar to that mix, but it’s not really necessary.
I’ve experimented with lots of french bread recipes. Some say that you HAVE to use an egg wash to get that delicious crust, while others throw ice cubes in the oven while the bread is baking. Some say no oil, others say just a teaspoon.
My version is very simple and is (of course) my favorite.
400g bread flour
240g warm water
The only oil I use is on the pan to keep the bread from sticking.
Here are the instructions:
- First, mix the water and yeast together and let sit for five to ten minutes or until bubbly. While waiting, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together.
- Combine the all the ingredients and knead until your dough is smooth and elastic. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
- Separate the dough into three or four pieces, depending on how big you want each loaf to be. Flatten out the dough and roll into tight baguettes. I personally like to score my dough, but that’s a personal preference thing. Place the dough on a baking sheet or baguette pan. Let it rise again until doubled.
- Fill a baking pan with boiling water and place it in your oven (will add humidity).
- Bake your bread at 400 for 30 minutes or so. For a crispier crust, try spritzing the loaves with water mid-baking.
- Once finished, immediately remove baked bread from the pan and place on a cooling rack.