I’ve looked at many french bread recipes, and basically it’s all the same. So this is my version, which is pretty much like all the other versions.. except with a little twist!
I’ve documented this whole recipe just for you!
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 pkg instant dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
First you start off with about 2 cups warm water. Make sure it’s between 105-115°F for the yeast to activate and add the tbsp of sugar into the water (food for the yeast).
Then add the yeast!
Proof the yeast, which basically means let stand until frothy;
probably about 5-10min depending on how warm your kitchen is.
1 cup Bread Flour
1 tbsp salt
Make sure you mix the flour and salt together, I’m not sure if the yeast likes to hit a whole tablespoon of salt right away..
Then beat in the yeast.
Let stand for at least 15 minutes, covered with a cloth. This is called a pre-ferment, it gives more flavour to the bread! It’ll look a little bubbly at the end:
Then add 1 cup at a time:
about 2 cups Breadflour or All Purpose Flour
1 cup beer grain (I used California Common aka Anchor Steam, the grains aren’t too over powering in taste)
Once it is the desirable stickiness by adding a bit more flour, knead for at least 5 minutes. It should be 10 minutes, but sometimes my arm gets tired.. I’ve never tried making bread dough in a mixer, that’s probably easier than kneading. But it’s fun to get your hands dirty! and workout that arm…
So it should be smooth and elastic :
Put the ball of dough in a buttered dish, and cover with a cloth. Leave in warm place until double the size. (At least an hour)
I forgot to take a picture of the double size (picture coming soon!).. But once it’s double, punch it down to release some of the gas, I also knead it a few times.
Cut this in half. I shaped half into a big ball, and the other half I cut into 12 pieces to shape little balls (or you can make two large loaves, but I have to say the small buns have a good crunch). When shaping, try to tuck the edges underneath so it has a smooth surface. Place the big ball on a cookie sheet spread with cornmeal, and the little balls in a muffin tin also spread with cornmeal.
Then cover with cloth again, and let them double in size, about another hour in a warm place.
Once the bread is double, preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a metal tray in the bottom with a cup of hot water or cold water with ice cubes. This will steam the oven, and make the crust thicker and crunchy.
Pop the bread in (try not to let too much heat escape) and bake for about 40min. The bread should be on the middle rack.
When it’s ready, you can test the bread by tapping the underside, it should have a hollow sound to it.