Bonjour! Ah the classic French Bread; airy, crispy golden crust, chewy middle with the slightest hint of sweetness. French bread was the first bread I ever made in my first year of technical training. Prior to then, I thought bread was the hardest thing to bake. It is such a sought after part of our diet and symbolizes an amazing comfort food, which is why I knew I had to include this simple recipe on the blog. The scent of yeast and toasted bread rolls through the air as it bakes in the oven creating the most inviting feeling in your home. This particular French bread has a slight sweetness, which enables it to adapt to any recipe. Although, eating bread on its own is never an awful thing. That is why I have created a whipped, sweet banana butter for the side. The sugariness will melt away on your palate as you eat and you'll be left happy and in a bread comma.
The Perfect French Bread paired with Whipped Banana Brown Sugar Butter
// Bread //
- 20 ounces of warm water
- 1/2 ounce of instant yeast
- 1 pound & 14 ounces of Flour (preferably bread flour)
- 1 ounce of salt
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of water
// Butter //
- 1 stick of room temperature salted butter
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- Begin by mixing together the warm water, honey, and yeast in the large bowl of a mixer. Allow this to sit and bloom for 5 minutes. If you're not using a mixer, use a large bowl, whisk, and mix in the remaining ingredients by hand (besides the egg and water).
- Then incorporate the flour and salt starting on low speed and increasing it slowly. Once a dough begins to form, knead the bread for 5 minutes on medium high speed until elastic. Do not try and skip this step. Your bread will become too dense and flat.
- Turn on your oven to 400'F. Keep the bread in the same bowl adding more flour to the outside and cover with a towel. To improvise in the cold months where your kitchen won't be hot enough, place a second towel over the top of your stove. Place the bowl on top of that. The air from your oven will provide a warm temperature for your dough to rise, but will not be hot enough to cook the bread. Allow the dough to double in size; it should take about 30 minutes in total.
- After the dough has doubled, remove from the bowl onto a floured surface. Separate the dough into three equal sections using a knife or a dough cutter. To create the long baguette shape, form the dough section into a round ball. Then, roll back and forth until a cylinder shape begins to form. You can continue to lengthen the dough by moving both of your hands back and forth until it is of appropriate length for you. Do this with the rest of the dough or utilize other shapes such as rolls, knots, or loaves. Place the finished shapes onto a sheet tray.
- Proof the dough again on the stove until it doubled once more. This second proof should should take about 15 minutes.
- Whisk the egg and water together to create an egg wash for the bread. Paint the bread with this mixture with a pastry/grill brush. Put the bread in the oven and bake for about 25-35 minutes in baguette form. You can check the bread by flipping it over, sticking a toothpick in it, and if it comes out clean the bread should be done. Allow the bread to cool.
- For the butter, throw all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk together. If your butter isn't warm enough, it will separate and look chunky. To remedy this, place the mixture in your shut off, warm oven for 5 minutes. You can now re-whisk this and it should form a cohesive whipped butter.