I've been experimenting with bread-making on and off for years, but somehow never quite managed to make the perfect loaf ~ until today. I found a recipe for French Bread online quite some time ago, but it seemed so complicated that I abandoned the idea. Then, when I made it recently, it came out heavy and unappetising, so I decided to change the recipe and make it my way. These two loaves are the results.
The best part of the changes that I made is that the bread takes very little effort on my part. I also adjusted the salt content, as I felt that it contained far too much. If you are looking for a good recipe for French Bread, you may like to give this a try. Not only does it taste good, but it also fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma. Happy baking!
12 fl oz water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp dried milk powder
16 oz all-purpose (plain) flour
16 oz bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
I used a bread machine on dough setting to mix all the ingredients. This takes two hours, but once I've measured everything out, I can walk away and forget about it. After two hours, I removed the dough from the pan and kneaded it lightly, divided it into two and formed loaf shapes, scoring the top with a sharp knife. I placed the loaves on a baking sheet and covered with a clean cloth and left them until they had doubled in size. (You can make baguettes if you prefer, but I find it difficult to roll out the dough).
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C, gas mark 6). Place a dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake the loaves until they are brown and sound hollow when tapped. Mine took about 20-25 minutes.
If you want it more crusty, I think that you need to reduce the oven temperature after 15 minutes of baking. Lower the heat to 350 F (180 C, gas mark 4) and bake for a further 25 minutes. (I forgot to do this, as I was busy with other things!)
Apologies for measurements in Imperial, but the original was in cups and it was the easiest way to convert it.