Easy French bread

This bread is so easy, any level of baker can make this beauty.

Whether you have a stand mixer or not, you can EASILY make this Dutch oven French bread. Although you could also buy a loaf of French bread at your local bakery, I promise it tastes SO much better when you taste the fruits of your own labor.

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Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon or 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting

Instructions

Mix the Dough + First Rise

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, pour in warm water, add in sugar, then sprinkle over yeast. Let yeast proof for about 5 minutes, or until yeast is foamy. If your yeast doesn’t foam, then either your water is too hot or too cold or your yeast is old. You’ll have to start over.
  2. Add flour to the bowl and either mix with the dough hook or by hand with a sturdy spatula. I usually start with about 2 cups of flour at first and will add as needed, by a half cup. When dough starts to come together, add the salt. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and no dry bits of flour remain. ~This dough is pretty slack (wet) so it will seem shaggy and sticky at this point.~
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise on the counter in a warm place for about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. ~I usually preheat my oven to 200ºF, turn off, and let the dough rise in there.

Shape Dough + Final Rise

  1. When dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board. Tip the dough out of the bowl onto the board. ~DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN!~ If the dough is sticking to the bowl, wet your hand with a little bit of water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out.
  2. To shape the dough, pull each corner of the dough in toward the center, like folding an envelope, and repeat until the dough feels tight and begins to resist your folds. Flip the dough oven and spin it around to make a round loaf.
  3. Flour a medium-sized bowl and place dough seam-side down into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so while preheating the oven.

Heat Oven + Bake

  1. While bread is rising, place an empty Dutch oven with the lid on, in your oven and preheat oven to 460ºF.
  2. When the oven is hot, use oven mitts to pull the Dutch oven from the oven and remove lid.
  3. Lay a large piece of parchment paper down on your counter. Tip your bread dough gently out of the bowl onto the parchment. Make sure the seam side is UP this time.
  4. Very carefully use the sides of the parchment to life the bread up and place it into the hot Dutch oven. Put your oven mitts back on, place the Dutch oven lid back on the pot and slide it back into the oven.
  5. Cook bread with the lid on for 30 minutes, remove lid, and continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the bread has deepened in color and has a beautiful brown crust.
  6. When bread is done take out of the oven. Use a long spatula or the corner of the parchment paper to life bread out of the Dutch oven and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting it.
  7. Slice, slather with butter, and enjoy!

Easy French Bread

In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, pour in warm water, add in sugar, then sprinkle over yeast. Let yeast proof for about 5 minutes, or until yeast is foamy. If your yeast doesn’t foam, then either your water is too hot or too cold or your yeast is old. You’ll have to start over.

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Add flour to the bowl and either mix with the dough hook or by hand with a sturdy spatula. I usually start with about 2 cups of flour at first and will add as needed, by a half cup. When dough starts to come together, add the salt. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and no dry bits of flour remain. ~This dough is pretty slack (wet) so it will seem shaggy and sticky at this point.~

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Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise on the counter in a warm place for about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. ~I usually preheat my oven to 200ºF, turn off, and let the dough rise in there.

DSC_0994

When dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board. Tip the dough out of the bowl onto the board. ~DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN!~ If the dough is sticking to the bowl, wet your hand with a little bit of water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out.

DSC_0995

To shape the dough, pull each corner of the dough in toward the center, like folding an envelope, and repeat until the dough feels tight and begins to resist your folds. Flip the dough oven and spin it around to make a round loaf.

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Flour a medium-sized bowl and place dough seam-side down into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so while preheating the oven.

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While bread is rising, place an empty Dutch oven with the lid on, in your oven and preheat oven to 460ºF.

DSC_0999

When the oven is hot, use oven mitts to pull the Dutch oven from the oven and remove lid.

Lay a large piece of parchment paper down on your counter. Tip your bread dough gently out of the bowl onto the parchment. Make sure the seam side is UP this time.

Very carefully use the sides of the parchment to life the bread up and place it into the hot Dutch oven. Put your oven mitts back on, place the Dutch oven lid back on the pot and slide it back into the oven.

DSC_1000

Cook bread with the lid on for 30 minutes, remove lid, and continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the bread has deepened in color and has a beautiful brown crust.

When bread is done take out of the oven. Use a long spatula or the corner of the parchment paper to life bread out of the Dutch oven and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting it.

DSC_1001

Slice, slather with butter, and enjoy!

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