I searched for a really long time for a French bread recipe that didn't require a bread maker! The loaves would either be too skinny and baguette like, didn't have good flavor, or would come out as hard as a rock! My search is now OVER! This recipe is perfect, and similar to what you would find in the bakery at the grocery store but minus the preservatives. It's so simple to make and very inexpensive. If you don't have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer for mixing and knead the dough by hand. Don't be intimidated by the bread!
Makes 1 loaf2 ¾-3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1 package or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (120 degrees F)
In a stand mixer, mix 2 cups flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Add water and beat for 3 minutes. Beat in enough additional flour to make a soft but kneadable dough.
Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes, until smooth and elastic (you can use a dough hook on a mixer for this step if you have one).
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with towel, and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
Punch dough down and roll into a long rectangular shape.
Starting from the long end, roll the dough into a loaf shape.
Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet, cover with a wet towel to let rise 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make an egg wash by mixing one egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush loaf with the egg wash with a pastry brush. Using a sharp knife, make 3-4 diagonal slashes on top of the loaf.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
For the printable recipe click here.