French bread is a tasty classic. Read on to learn the details of our French Bread recipe!
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the yeast, 2 cups flour and salt to the bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Fit the bowl into the stand mixer and turn the mixer on low speed. Drizzle warm water (1.5 cups, 105-115°F) into the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix the ingredients until everything comes together and forms a shaggy dough.
Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. Starting on low and increasing to medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour slowly. After the flour has been added, knead the dough on medium to medium-high speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be soft, smooth and slightly sticky.
Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Transfer the dough ball to a large bowl lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, turning the dough once to lightly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at warm room temperature (70-75°F) until tripled in size, about 3 hours.
Deflate the dough then allow it to rise, covered at warm room temperature again until nearly tripled in size once more, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Rub your rising surface with flour (couche or linen towel). Set aside.
Split to dough ball into two equal pieces and let rest for 5 minutes. Shape both pieces of dough into long loaves, pinching to seal the seam and each end. Place the shaped loaves on your floured rising surface. Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise one final time until tripled in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450°F. If using a baking stone, place the stone in the oven while the oven is heating up. Also place an empty broiling pan in the lower third of the oven.
Transfer the risen loaves onto a peel and slash the top of the loaves with a very sharp knife. Transfer the loaves to the heated baking stone or into a perforated baking pan. Mist the top of the loaves with water and place in the oven. Add 1 cup of hot water to the empty broiler pan and quickly close the oven door. Mist the loaves twice more, at 10 minute intervals.
Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.