French Bread

French Bread

(makes 3 loaves)

Ingredients

  • 2 C warm water
  • 1 Tsp yeast (or one packet - close enough)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5-6 c flour
Turn the oven to 170°.  As soon as it is warm, turn it off.  (It is now ready to proof your dough.)

Mix the yeast, sugar and some water so that the yeast hydrates.  It should get a little frothy look.  Mix in the rest of the water and salt.  Add 3 cups of flour and stir until the mixture is smooth and elastic.

Add the rest of the flour a little bit at a time and knead the mixture until it is smooth and bread-dough like.  

Put dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and place in the warmed (but off!) oven.  Let rise for 1 hour.

At the end of that hour, punch down the dough. Divide into thirds and stretch them each into long sausage- like rolls, ones that will fit on your pans.

Now let the loaves rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Make some diagonal cuts to relieve the stress in the loaves.

TIP 1: Spray the top of the loaves with water before baking.  It will make them brown and beautiful.

TIP 2: Put 3 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven when you put the loaves in the oven.  It creates a moist environment in which the bread will rise, make a smart crust and help the bread to become chewy on the inside.

Bake for 20 minutes.