French Bread Recipe

I’m loving fall… are you? The weather is just beautiful and I’m receiving LOTS of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini (mostly tomatoes) lately from a few very generous people. This means me cooking up a storm of tomato sauce and salsa for the freezer… love it!

Anyway, today I want to share a French Bread recipe I tried earlier this week. It’s the best one I’ve found yet and I have to say it is almost perfect. It goes great with practically any meal, especially Italian. Bonus: it’s fairly simple to make too! Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found it, so it’s a little hard to give credit where it’s due, but thanks to whoever created this recipe!

Here it is:

FRENCH BREAD

1 1/4 cups water (105 degrees F)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)

GLAZE:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 150 degrees then turn the heat OFF (this is where your bread will rise, leave the oven light on). Mix sugar & yeast in water, let proof for 5 min. Stir (by hand) the flour & salt together in mixer bowl. Then, using the dough hook on the lowest speed, pour oil and water mixture into flour & let it knead for 8 minutes. If the dough is dry & flaky after 1 minute of mixing, add a scant tbsp of water. Dough should be smooth & elastic after 8 min. Put in greased bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel & put in the slightly warm oven that is OFF. Let rise until doubled, 30-60 min.

 When completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.

 Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal if desired; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in oven (OFF) until doubled, about 20 minutes.

 Whisk egg and water; brush over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Toss some ice cubes into the oven to make a crispier crust if desired.

 ***If desired, add garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the dough, or sprinkle loaves with garlic salt and parsley before baking.***

Try it and let me know if it’s as good in your books as it is in mine.

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