Easy and Yummy – Crusty French Bread Recipe

This is a bread that you can make and it will turn out AMAZING. Takes only 2.5 hours. Maybe a little longer the very first time, but the second, 2.5 hours and it tastes really really good.

The crackly brown crust here is the result of baking this bread in a dutch oven. By keeping the lid on while the bread bakes, you create a nice steamy atmosphere inside the pot – and the steam is what gives the bread that crispy, magical crust.

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Yield: 1 loaf (about 6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2.5 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (you could also mix this dough by hand if you like—just use a large mixing bowl instead).
  2. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until the mixture looks nice and foamy.
  3. Add kosher salt to the bowl.
  4. Add flour to bowl a bit at a time and mix on low speed until all flour is incorporated and the dough has just started to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Turn off the mixer and remove the bowl and dough hook.
  6. Lightly flour all sides of your dough (don’t mix the flour in – it’s just to keep the dough from sticking) and turn it over inside the mixing bowl to coat with flour on all sides. Cover with a tea towel and let rise on the counter for about 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. When the dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board. Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the cutting board. DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN – you want to keep all the air bubbles intact so you have an airy, delicious loaf of bread. (If the dough is sticking to the bowl a little bit, wet your hand with a bit of water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out).
  8. Sprinkle a bit of flour across the top of the dough, then begin shaping it into a round loaf. It’s good to pull each corner of the dough in towards the center (like you’re folding an envelope) a few times, then flip the dough over and tap it into a nice round loaf.
  9. Flour a proofing basket or a small mixing bowl and place your loaf into it seam-side down. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so.
  10. While bread proofs, place an empty dutch oven (with the lid on) in your oven and heat to 460º F.
  11. When the oven is hot, use oven mitts to pull the dutch oven out and remove the lid.
  12. Tip your bread dough gently out of the proofing basket back onto your floured cutting board, and then carefully place it – seam side UP, this time – into the hot dutch oven. (You can use a piece of parchment paper here to make this easier if you like).
  13. Put your oven mitts back on, put the dutch oven lid back on the pot, and slide the whole thing back into your hot oven.
  14. Cook bread for 30 minutes.
  15. After 30 minutes, remove the lid from your dutch oven. The bread should be crusty and lightly browned. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes more until the bread has deepened in color and you have a beautiful brown crust.
  16. When the bread is done, use oven mitts to pull the pot out of your oven. Use a long spatula to lift the bread out of the dutch oven and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into it. Slice, butter, and enjoy!

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