“All sorrows are less with bread.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
Something about fresh baked bread from the oven is one of life’s little pleasures. The smell that fills your home. The crusty exterior and pillow soft interior. The wisp of steam that escapes with the very first slice you cut. A pat of butter melting into every crevice. I love it!
Baking bread used to feel like the scariest task, but I got over my fear by just throwing myself into doing it. Sometimes that’s the easiest way to get past feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. If you are a seasoned bread baker, you probably know what I mean. If you aren’t, I promise you that diving in may feel scary at first but it just takes a little prep, patience, and practice.
Aside from eating the bread, my favorite part is the magic of yeast. Call me a geek, but I am truly fascinated by watching the yeast “bloom” in the liquid to start the whole process. And it is incredible to me how the dough rises with a few simple ingredients, the right room temperature, and a little time.
This recipe is for a basic French bread. I shaped them in medium size rounds but they can be made into rolls or a large loaf. It’s totally up to you. I hope you give it a try!
Basic French Bread Rounds
1 Tbsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water, 100-115 degrees
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, sugar and water. Let sit 5 minutes to activate yeast. Then stir in salt and olive oil. With a dough hook attachment, gradually add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. Continue kneading with dough hook for 7-10 minutes. Place dough in a large greased bowl. Flip dough to coat with oil in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free spot to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in volume. Once dough is ready, gently deflate and remove from bowl. Cut in 4 large pieces and roll into balls. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise 30-40 minutes more. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.