The Ultimate French Bread

Cooking The Ultimate French Bread
Cooking The Ultimate French Bread


1 1⁄4 cups warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1⁄2 cups bread flour 1 tablespoon yeast

CRUNCHY CRUST GLAZE 2 tablespoons water

1⁄2 teaspoon salt


water, beaten


milk, beaten


1. Add to bread machine according to owner’s manual (my machine does liquids first); program for DOUGH or MANUAL.

2. At the end of the cycle, place on lightly floured surface, rolling into a large rectangle; start at the longest end and roll up tightly, pressing seams and tapering each end, tucking under.

3. Place loaf on a greased baking sheet or stone; cover and let rise for one hour until doubled.

4. Near end of rising time, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5. Mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl; brush over loaf generously; snip three diagonal slashes over the top (optional).

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, top will be golden brown.

7. VARIATIONS: After rolling dough into a rectangle, (1) sprinkle with grated cheese [cheddar is delicious], or (2) generously brush with melted butter & sprinkle some aromatic herbs, or (3) spoon leftover marinara sauce close to the edges, — then roll up tightly and pinch edges; continue as described in Step #3.

8. VARIATION #2: Mince one small onion (about 1/4 cup) and add to wet ingredients.

9. CREATIVE SUGGESTION: Shape into a round loaf instead of the usual long loaf.

10. BABY FRENCH BREAD LOAFLETS: Divide dough ball into 12 balls, tapering to make miniloaves; bake 15-20 minutes–watch carefully!

11. FRENCH TWIST: Divide dough into 3 pieces, rolled into 14-16″ ropes. Lay them on pan and braid in usual fashion, tuck ends under, stretch out a bit if need be; brush with 2 T. melted butter; cover & rise for about 30 minutes; brush with glaze, bake 20-25 minutes–watch carefully.

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