Crusty French Bread Recipe

Take a few seconds and think about this one: Is there any better food than bread? We're not talking about pizza or a sandwich or a cheeseburger or some dish with multiple components here (though note that bread is the base for all of those anyway), but rather about one single, basic type of food. It's hard to beat this ancient favorite, a food human beings have been enjoying since the earliest days of cooking and cultivation, and for good reason: Bread is awesome.

But despite the fact that humans have been enjoying bread for at least 14,000 years, according to the BBC, many people are still wary of making the stuff, thinking it's complicated, time-consuming, and easy to get wrong. And look, if you're setting out to make a perfect marbled rye or brioche or whatnot, it can be. But on the other hand, you can create delectable loaves with all of 15 minutes of hands-on work, a bit of patient waiting, and a relatively short baking period — you just need to try this Dutch oven-baked bread recipe from recipe developer Kristen Carli.

This recipe yields a classic, versatile loaf that you will want to make again and again. Carli says: "I love eating my avocado toast on this bread with a little salt and cayenne pepper. This is also a great bread to serve with soup for dipping." Or use it for sandwiches, as a side with dinner, or to slice and use for easy French bread pizza.

Gather your ingredients for crusty French bread

Maybe one of the reasons bread is such a popular, age-old food is its simplicity in terms of ingredients. And bakers today, unlike bakers of ages past, have yeast handy from the store, so there's no guesswork involved, either.

For this loaf, all you need is some active dry yeast (one packet or, if you have a jar, use two and a quarter teaspoons), some warm water, a bit of sugar, some salt, and some flour. As for hardware, you need a stand mixer and a Dutch oven, along with your actual oven in which you'll do the baking. And that's it!

Make the dough, then wait a while

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast, the warm (not hot!) water, and the sugar. Stir these gently, just a couple of times, then let them sit and allow the yeast to foam up for about five minutes.

Next, after that pause, add the flour and the salt. Now, using the mixer's dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients for 10 minutes. "I would make sure that you allow the dough to knead in the stand mixer for 10 minutes so that the gluten develops and the dough starts to peel away from the bowl," notes Carli.

Then remove the bowl from the stand mixer and cover it with a dish towel, leaving it at room temperature for one hour to rise.

Rest the dough again, then get ready to bake

After that hour of rising, go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, remove the towel from the stand mixer and gently turn out the dough, then form it into a ball and set it on a piece of parchment paper. Cover the dough ball with a clean dish towel and leave it to rise for a second time for 30 minutes.

Now remove the towel and carefully pick up parchment paper. Ease the dough down into place in the middle of the Dutch oven. Your hands-on work is now done.

Bake the bread, then enjoy

Cover the Dutch oven with its lid, pop it into the preheated oven, and let it bake for 30 minutes. Then open the oven, carefully remove the lid from the Dutch oven within, and continue to bake the loaf for 10 more minutes.

Now get the Dutch oven out of the oven, carefully remove the freshly baked loaf, and let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes to cool. Now enjoy! And not that there's any way it will last this long, but Carli says: "This keeps best in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to seven days."

Crusty French Bread Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
This recipe yields a classic, versatile loaf that you will want to make again and again. Give it a try so you always have bread on hand.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
40
minutes
Servings
12
servings
Slices of bread on a plate
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
Directions
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, add yeast, water, and sugar. Stir gently, then allow to foam for 5 minutes.
  2. Add flour and salt to the mixer, then using the dough hook attachment, mix for 10 minutes on low speed.
  3. Remove bowl from stand mixer and cover with a dish towel for 1 hour to let dough rise.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, then remove towel, dump out dough and form into a ball, and set on a piece of parchment paper. Cover with a dish towel for a second rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove towel, carefully pick up parchment paper and dough, and place into Dutch oven, then cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and continue to bake for 10 minutes, then remove bread from Dutch oven, let cool, and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 117
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 0.4 g
Sodium 120.8 mg
Protein 3.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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