Smellavision…..smellasite….I’m not quite sure what to call it but I wish you could smell the french bread baking in my kitchen right now. I just finished baking two loaves and oh my gosh, Yum yum yum yum yum. The smell of fresh baked bread transports me back to when I was young and just getting in from school on a cold day. The minute that smell hit me at the door I knew what was for dinner…a big pot of turkey and sausage gumbo, along with some fresh, crusty, delicious French bread. Oh memories….very nostalgic.
These days we are all a lot more health conscious than we were when I was young. That means giving up or at least limiting white flour consumption. I’m trying my best to come up with a whole wheat version, but until I do, I guess I’m just gonna have to settle. As soon as I can fine tune a recipe worth sharing, trust me, you’ll be seeing it here. If you’ve never made homemade bread you’re gonna love how easy this is. It takes a couple of hours because you have to let it rise twice but it’s worth the time. Don’t be afraid to try bread making, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with yourself like I was.
I think I could make a meal out of this French bread and some of my homemade butter and be more than satisfied!
Crusty French Bread
- Prep Time: 2 hours 30 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
- Yield: 8
- Category: Bread
- Cuisine: French
- 2 packets of active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups of bread flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- Using an electric mixer with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water and mix for 2 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Add the salt and flour. With the mixer on low, mix until the dough starts to come together. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up to dough hook.
- Grease a mixing bowl with the oil. Place the dough in the greased bowl and turn once. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free place until the dough doubles in size about 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and invert it onto a heavily floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Pat each portion into a large rectangle, about 3/4-inch thick. Roll up the dough, beginning with the short side and stopping after each full turn to press the edge of the roll firmly into the flat sheet of dough to seal. Press with your fingertips. Tuck and roll so that any seams disappear into the dough.
- Sprinkle a baking sheet evenly with 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal. Place the loaves on the baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons cornmeal. Cover the loaves with a cloth and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes, about 1-inch apart, on the top of each loaf. With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash evenly over each loaf. Place a cup of hot water in an oven-proof container on the baking sheet with the loaves.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. (original recipe calls for 45 so check at 20 and bake longer if needed) Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Slice to serve.