Classic French Bread

    2 hours 45 minutes

    This famous bread has a crisp, crunchy crust and slightly chewy crumb. This recipe makes 2 loaves. Great for sandwiches.

    1067 people made this

    Serves: 30 

    • 6 cups (750g) plain flour
    • 20g dried active baking yeast
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 cups (500ml) warm water (45 degrees C)
    • 1 tablespoon polenta
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 tablespoon water

    Preparation:25min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Extra time:1hour40min rising  ›  Ready in:2hours45min 

    1. In a large bowl, combine 1/3 of the flour, yeast and salt. Stir in warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
    2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
    3. Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
    4. Grease a large baking tray. Sprinkle with polenta. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking tray. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and brush on. Cover with a clean damp tea towel. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
    5. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal slits across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with aluminium foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking tray, and cool on a wire rack.

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    Something else. Oh my! This bread is wonderful. I bake bread almost every week, and decided to try something different. I did change a couple of things to suit my family's taste. I proofed my yeast with about a tablespoon of honey in the water. Also to gain a soft and chewy crust, about 5 minutes before the bread was done I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter and stirred in a tablespoon of honey. As soon as the bread came out of the oven, I poured this over the top, placed a piece of aluminium foil over it, and placed a damp towel over the whole thing. Let this sit for about 15 minutes and the result will be an amazing bread. I just hope I don't eat it all before my family get home!  -  14 Jul 2008


    Perfection! Beautifully fine texture and creamy taste. For a softer, yet still deep golden crust use this as an egg wash. Mix together 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp milk, brush over entire loaf before baking. It's only slightly softer and actually comes out more golden and glossy. I loved the rolling trick too!  -  14 Jul 2008


    Altered ingredient amounts. Quick disclaimer...I loved this recipe; great crust with a soft, yet chewy center. With that said, I'll poke some holes in the instructions. First, I used 5 teaspoons of yeast in my trial batch and it went well. Secondly, most people (like me) may want to add more salt and some butter. The trial batch came out a bit bland. I'm going to add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of butter. Since butter is only 15% water, one tablespoon shouldn't affect your total liquids that much. One last note, the first rise in my trial batch doubled in 30 minutes. Luckily the bench proof added another 40 minutes to the rise. With those adjustments made, this recipe is great.  -  14 Jul 2008