Crusty French Bread

An easy homemade bread recipe which is sure to be a hit! Ready in just a few hours as there is no need to let it rise overnight. Bake it in a dutch oven for a crispy crust on the outside and soft, airy bread on the inside.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.25 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1.25 cups warm water (if you pop a finger it’s warm!)
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 2.5 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting
  1. Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook  or you could also mix this dough by hand – just use a large mixing bowl instead.
  2. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until the mixture looks nice and foamy.
  3. Add salt to bowl.
  4. Add flour to bowl a bit at a time, mixing well until ingredients have just come together and form a smooth dough.
  5. Lightly flour all sides of your dough (don’t mix the flour in – it’s just to keep the dough from sticking!) and turn it over inside the mixing bowl to coat with flour on all sides. Cover with a tea towel and let rise on the counter for about 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  6. Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board.
  7. Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the cutting board. DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN – you need to keep all those nice air bubbles intact so you have an airy, delicious loaf of bread. (Note: If the dough is sticking to the bowl a little bit, just wet your hand with a bit of water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out).
  8. Sprinkle a bit of flour across the top of the dough, then begin shaping it into a round loaf. Pull each corner of the dough in towards the center (like folding an envelope) a few times, then flip the dough over and tap it into a nice round loaf.
  9. Flour a small mixing bowl and place your loaf into it seam-side down. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so.
  10. Whilst the bread proofs, place an empty dutch oven (with the lid on) in your oven and heat to 220 degrees C.
  11. Once the oven is hot (the light has gone off), you’re ready to go!
  12. Take dutch oven out and remove the lid.
  13. Tip your bread dough gently out of the bowl back onto your floured cutting board, and carefully place it – seam side up this time – into the hot dutch oven.
  14. Put the lid back on the pot, and slide back into the oven.
  15. Cook the bread for 30 minutes and remove the lid from your dutch oven. The bread should be crusty and lightly browned.
  16. Continue cooking, uncovered, for about another 10-20 minutes until the bread has deepened in color and you have a beautiful brown crust.
  17. Once the bread is done, take the pot out of the oven and using a long spatula, carefully lift the bread out of the dutch oven onto a cooling rack.
  18. Let it cool for about 20 minutes then slice, slather with butter, and enjoy!

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