Crusty French Bread

TYPE : French
Bread
YIELD : 3 baguettes / 18 rolls
CALORIES : 141 kcal
PREP TIME : 30 mins
COOK TIME : 20 mins
TOTAL TIME : 3 hrs 50 mins

INGREDIENTS :

  • 5 cups (12 dl) bread flour (reserve 1 cup (2.5 dl) for kneading)
  • 1 – 2 tsp instant yeast, or 25 g fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey or sugar
  • 2 tbsp soft butter
  • 2 cups (5 dl) lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS :

  • (Optional step) For more flavor and an even lighter bread, prepare a starter the day before from 2 cups (5 dl) of the flour, 1/2 tsp yeast and 1 cup (2.5 dl) of water. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until needed.
  • Mix the starter with the remaining ingredients – except salt – and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Add the salt and knead for another 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a lightly oiled container and cover with plastic or lid. Allow to rise until double the size ( 1 – 2 hours), knocking down the dough halfway through.
  • Divide and roll into skinny logs as long as your baking sheet or round balls. If you want to have seeds on the rolls, brush them with water and dip in seeds before proving.
  • Cover with plastic and prove until at least double the size (about 1 hour). The proving is complete when the dough barely bounces back when poked.
  • Meanwhile, set the oven to 450°F (225°C) and add a baking stone, if available.
  • Spray some water on the dough, score the baguettes diagonally with a lamé or sharp, wet knife (I used scissors and it shows…) then transfer to the oven. Create steam by spraying or tossing water into the oven, or place a pan with hot water on the bottom.
  • After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 400°F (200°F). After another 10 minutes, air out the oven by opening the oven door a few times (remove the steam bath, if used).
  • Bake until the bread is pretty dark or it will not become crispy. While still hot out of the oven, spray it lightly with water to make the crust crackle (repeat a few times but do not overdo it).
  • Leave to cool uncovered on a rack.

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