Crusty French Bread Recipes

Recipes for Crusty French Bread That You Definitely Must Dig Into

A crusty French bread brings out the best in a slice of toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a healthy bowl of stew for dinner. And when it comes to baking, this is the easiest of all breads.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
French bread is prepared from white wheat flour and has a strong and chewy crust. The inner part of the bread is full of bubbles, due to the use of sourdough starters at the time of preparation. It is distinguishable by its length and slit cuts, that enable proper expansion of gases, thus, forming a crust on top of the loaf. Traditionally, it is made up of only four ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and common salt. It is commonly shaped into a batard, torpedo or baguette styles, though in France, the baguette style is the most famous. French bread doesn't store well and hence, to maintain that special crispy crust, it should be packed in plastic and heated before consuming.

Crusty French Bread
Ingredients
  • Bread Flour, 2 cups
  • Active Dry Yeast, 2 tsp.
  • Water, 1½ cup
  • Dry Milk, 2 tbsp.
  • Sugar, 2 tsp.
  • Vegetable Oil, 1 tbsp.
  • All-purpose Flour, 2 cups
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Egg White, (whisked with 1 tbsp. cold water) 1
Preparation
Add water, oil, dry milk, flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast to the bread machine. Select the dough settings of the machine and punch down the dough. Let it rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Lightly knead it and form loaves.

To Form Loaves
Shift the dough to a lightly floured baking board and cut the dough into 2 sections. Roll each section into a rectangle with a width of 12 to 15 inches. Add more flour if needed. From the long end, roll up and pinch the seams well; repeat with the next roll. Spray or lightly oil a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer the loaves on the sheet, cover with clean dish towel and allow it to rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place a pie plate on the lower rack of the oven and add about 1 inch of boiling water to it. Bake it for 15 minutes and lower the heat to 350°F. Now bake for 20-25 minutes and 5 minutes before the loaves are done, brush with egg white and water mixture.

Cracked Wheat French Bread
Ingredients
  • All-purpose Flour, 4 cups
  • Water, (110-120° F) 2 cups
  • Cracked Wheat Cereal, (uncooked) 1 cup
  • Olive Oil, ¼ cup
  • Whole Wheat Flour, 1 cup
  • Sugar, 1 tsp.
  • Dry Yeast, 1 tsp.
  • Salt, 1 tsp.
  • Sesame Seeds, 1 tsp.
  • Egg White, (lightly beaten) 1
Preparation
In a bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer, blend water, yeast and sugar. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Add whole wheat flour, cracked wheat, salt, and olive oil to it. With the help of a dough hook, mix well. Add all-purpose flour and knead on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and coat the top of the dough with oil. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 45-60 minutes. After it rises, punch it down and return it to the mixer bowl. Knead again for nearly 5 minutes. Now place the dough back in the bowl and let it rise till it doubles. Then punch down and again let it rest for few minutes. Divide the dough into half and shape each portion into long loaves (about 13-15 inches long). Put them on a greased baking sheet and slash the tops diagonally in 3-4 places. Brush the tops with beaten egg white and sprinkle sesame seeds on it. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes at 375° F.

The simplicity of ingredients, delicious taste and less preparation time makes this bread a terrific accompaniment to any dish. Dipped in sauces, spread with butter, cheese or mayonnaise, it can either be used for sandwiches or just eaten plain.
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