Easy Homemade French Bread
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/4 oz packet rapid rise or quick rise yeast (One packet equals 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 5-6 cups flour
1. Pour warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Immediately sprinkle yeast on top of water and pour in sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. (Mixture should start to bubble a little on the top by the end of the 5 minutes.)
2. Add the oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Mix with a dough hook until almost combined.
3. Add 1 cup flour. Mix. Add another cup of flour. Mix completely. If dough is still a little sticky add 1/2 cup flour. Mix completely. If still a little sticky, add the last 1/2 cup of flour and mix until completely combined. Dough should be soft and elastic with just a very slight stickiness to it. Don't add too much flour or dough will become tough. (I usually need 5 1/2 cups flour to get the right texture.)
4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes on low.
5. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 15 minutes.
6. Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half into a 12x12 inch square. Roll the squares up to make 2 loaves. Pinch the seams together to close them. Roll the ends under and pinch them under to secure them.
7. Place both loaves on a baking sheet. Make 3 diagonal slices on top of each loaf. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. (If your kitchen is cold, turn on your oven and let the dough rise near the oven.)
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake loaves for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden.
9. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter if desired.