Sunday, January 29, 2017

Versatile French Bread Recipe

My ideal would be that all of my bread is either from fresh ground flour, or a soaked wheat recipe for optimal nutrition. Truth is that I don't have a grain mill, and soaked bread takes 2 days and I'm really good at forgetting to start it. I don't remember exactly where I got this recipe, but it is perfect for when I need bread quickly, as it can be made from start to finish in about 2 hours, minus cooling. I use it for sandwiches, toast, garlic bread, cinnamon bread for French toast, and buns. I've also placed with it at our county fair when I've entered it. If you've not made bread before, this is a great one to start with.  (and my apologies for the bad photos, it took me 5 different bakings to get them all. winter lighting.)
Versatile French Bread Recipe

2 c. hot water (I use hot tap water)
2 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. oil (I use light olive)
2 tsp. salt 
5 c. all purpose flour OR 3 cups all purpose, 2 cups whole wheat (You may have to play around to get the texture you like doing the flour combo)

Combine the first 5 ingredients and let rest until foamy, 5-10 minutes.

Add flour and mix/knead until the sides of the bowl are clean, about 5 minutes. Some days, I need to add a little extra flour because my dough is sticky.

Cover and let rise until double. I usually leave it in my mixing bowl for this step, but you can transfer to a lightly oiled bowl.

Punch down and cut dough in half. Roll dough out into a rectangle and then roll into a loaf shape starting at the short end.

Tuck ends under.

Transfer to a thoroughly greased cookie sheet and cut 3 diagonal slashes into the top.

Cover and let rise until doubled again. Most of the time, this only takes about 20 minutes, but it can take up to an hour sometimes as well. Just keep an eye on it. When you start this rising period, turn your oven on to begin heating at 400. Just before putting the loaves into the oven, beat together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of milk, then carefully brush all over the loaves. (I usually put the leftover egg wash in the freezer for the next time)
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.
If you choose to make buns, just take a piece of dough, roll into a ball and flatten slightly. Continue with slashing, rising and egg wash steps. Check the buns after 10 minutes and bake until golden.


  1. Hello I just found your blog, I have enjoyed reading your back post. I hope you will post more in the future. You have a lot to give to people. So, good to met you. Teresa @ Simply Farmhouse

  2. Hey Bonnie Bell. I MISS YOU! Gosh, it has been ages... I think about you a lot. I'll be baking bread and think about you. I'll be in the garden and I'll think about you. I'll be sewing something and think about you. I'll be in the midst of the school day and wonder how yours is going. It's been such a long time since you blogged (and I TOTALLY get it. I'm having a hard time doing it myself these days) but I hate that my only connection is lost! Especially since I am such a poor letter writer these days too. And letters aren't pictures either. You know?

    You aren't on Instagram or anything are you? I haven't started an account there just because blogging has been too difficult to do- I don't want to add something else to feel guilty for 'not getting to'. But I would TOTALLY go on to visit you if you were there to get my Bonnie fix!

    I hope everything is okay with you and your family? Are you well?

    Fact is, Bonnie, you are a kindred spirit. And just like a 'spirit', even when I don't 'see' you, you are still around in my thoughts and heart.

    I hope you are all doing well- and I hope that maybe we can reconnect again sometime. It's not every day a girl meets someone who likes to can, bake, make and homeschool. The likes of us have to stick together. ;-) Love ya!

    1. REBECCA!!!!! You have NO idea how much I've missed you! I think the the very same things during the day, and then feel guilty because I can't seem to get it together enough to pop over to your blog, or get a letter out of my head and onto paper. I'm so glad you said something, shoot, I'm tearing up right now because I've missed you so much! Its been ridiculously busy and by the time I have "time", I'm too pooped to do anything. I am on Instagram. We got rid of your land line because we were having so much trouble with it and cell phones cost about the same as a phone bill. IG has been my "outlet", it takes so much less time than blogging and I can pop a post up in a minute or two instead of the half hour plus my big was taking. PLEASE come see me there! <3 love you too! <3