My brother called me the other day to tell me about some french bread that was on my blog that he was having problems making. I told him "I don't have a french bread recipe on my blog" who's blog did you get it off of?
He said it's something or other Lofthouse, but it didn't come out the way it was supposed to.
I said "that's Holly's blog and everything she makes is amazing! What did you do wrong?" lol
I immediately went over to Life in the Lofthouse and found this recipe for Fabulous French Bread.
I read the ingredients, called my brother back and after we went through how he made the bread I found out that his yeast was expired and even though he had used in another recipe, it didn't work in this one. So he went out and got more yeast and tried it again with perfect success!
I was intrigued by the fact that this recipe didn't have a lot of raising time and could basically be made in about 1 hour total from start to finish so I decided I needed to make some too.
I always serve some sort of bread at dinner and this would be perfect to have on hand and I loved that it could be made at 5 pm and still be eaten for dinner that night.
I fell in LOVE with this recipe and after adapting it slightly, I have made it 3 times since last week and will be changing it up with new flavors in the near future :) Enjoy!
P.S. I'll never buy store bought french bread again! Thanks Holly :)
Here's what you need:
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup warm water
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup cold water
5-6 cups all purpose flour, I use unbleached
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
In a measuring cup fill to 1/3 with warm water (105-110 degrees) and sprinkle with yeast and 1 tsp. sugar, stir to combine and set aside until needed.
In the bowl of a stand mixer place the 2 Tbs. sugar, the salt and shortening.
Pour the boiling water over the sugar/salt/Crisco mixture and stir.
Add the cold water then pour in the yeast mixture (which should have bloomed and gotten fluffy while it was waiting).
Add 3 cups of flour and using the dough hook start to mix the mixture on low, scraping down the sides as you go.
Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time up to 3 more cups and no more (mine took all 6 cups of flour)
Once all the flour is in the mixer mix on medium for 7 minutes (yes I time all the parts of this recipe). The dough should be nice and elastic when done.
Once mixed, let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dump the dough onto the baking sheet. I used a parchment lined and sprayed sheet the second time and there was less clean up :)
Cut the dough into three equal pieces and rest for 5 minutes. Do not skip the resting periods.
One section at a time spread the dough into a rectangle with your fingers until it is about 1/2 inch thick and 8 to 10 inches wide and 12 inches long. These sizes are approximate and will vary from time to time.
Starting with the longest side fold 1/3 into the middle and the second third over the first so you have about a 3-4 inch tri-fold piece of dough.
Fold from the bottom up to the middle and then the top down to form another tri-fold piece of dough.
Turn the piece of dough over so the seam is down against the pan.
Using your hands smooth the dough down on the sides and under so it is seamless and lightly pressing on the top and sides with both hands shape the dough into a loaf.
Repeat until all three loaves are done. Using a serrated knife cut three diagonal slices in the top of the loaves.
Brush the beaten egg over the loaves making sure to get in the slits.
Place loaves into the oven and let them rise for 15 minutes while the oven is still at 170 degrees.
Turn the oven to 400 degrees (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 18 minutes (from when you turn the oven up not after it gets to 400).
Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown and completely cooked through.
Serve warm. Mmmm mmmm
Keep leftovers in an airtight bag for several days. You'll never need to buy store bought french bread again!
Serves 3 large loaves
Here's the handy printable - Homemade French Bread