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Tips for Baking Amazing French Bread
I’m not an expert at French baking, by any means, but I’ll share what I have learned over the years and what has worked for us for making French bread and baguettes.
Shaping the Dough:
You can roll the dough into a loaf shape using your hands, or roll out into a rectangular shape using a rolling pin and roll it up (like you would cinnamon rolls), pinching the bottom seam and ends. The second method is how I shape homemade bread, but either method works just fine.
Pans to Use:
I purchased this loaf pan a couple of years ago, and like using it for baguettes and French bread. It helps the loaves keep their shape. Before I had this pan, I baked my loaves on greased baking sheets. How you bake your loaves is completely up to you. They will be delicious either way.
Amazing French Bread Recipe
Amazing Homemade French Bread Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp. white sugar
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups flour all purpose or bread flour
- melted butter for brushing
- 1 egg white
- 2 Tbsp. water
- In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat.
- Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a loaf. Place on greased baking sheet or French bread pan. Score 4 times across the top with a sharp knife.
- Cover the loaves with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
- Place a shallow pan with 1" of water on bottom rack of oven (I use an 8x8 brownie pan). This will create steam while the loaves bake. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Beat water and egg white in a small bowl with a fork until mixes. Brush over loaves.
- Bake loaves for 25 minutes or until golden on top.
- Brush with melted butter.