A French loaf is a long piece of bread made out of simple all-purpose flour. The flour is mixed with yeast to make it spongy; while, a layer of egg at the top makes the breads crusty and tasty. French loaves are easy to prepare and are normally eaten with soups or simply with butter or jam. This is a very versatile food as it has got a lot of usages and can turn any simple dish into a tasty and healthy alternative.
Difficulty Level: Medium
Yields Per Recipe: 2 5-6 cm long bread loaves
Preparation Time Required: 1 hour 30 minutes- 2 hours
Baking Time Required: 30-35 minutes
4 cups of plain all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar
1 packet of dry active yeast
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of vegetable or olive oil
1 cup + 1/3rd cup of lukewarm water
1 kitchen brush
1 wire whisk or fork
1 sharp knife
19×13-inch baking tray
1 damp cloth
1 large sifter
1 large glass
1 large mixing bowl
Method Of Preparation
1. Take the lukewarm water in a large glass and dissolve the sugar in it. Next, add-in the yeast and transfer the glass to a humid dark area. Cover the top of the glass with a small lid so that air can’t get inside and wait for the solution to turn frothy and bubbly. In the meantime, sift the flour into a bowl by sifting it through a sifter. Add the salt and the oil to the flour. Next pour the frothy yeast mixture over the sifted flour and mix all the added ingredients nicely to get moistened dough like thing.
2. Once everything is nicely mixed, transfer the flour mixture to a floured hard surface and knead the dough until it turns soft and creamy at the top. The dough should be moist but it should not stick to your hands or any other surface easily. Once that happens, you will be able to understand that your dough is ready. Once you are ready with the dough, transfer it to a bowl and cover it up with a damp cloth.
3. Now transfer the bowl to a warm and shady place and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in volume. In the meantime, set a temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit on your oven to preheat it. Once that happens, remove the cloth and put back the dough on a floured surface. Now knead the dough once again by pulling and pressing it with the lower portion of your palm. The dough should be very spongy and soft and if you make a dent in it, it should rise back. Once done, divide the dough into two equal halves and roll them into two 5-6 cm long cylinders. The ends of the breads should be tapered.
4. Now take the baking tray and grease all its sides and bottom generously with oil. Next, take a sharp knife and slash gently three to four times through the top of the dough to make slits on the dough. Once done, transfer the dough to the prepared baking tray. Take a bowl and whisk the eggs in it. Now brush both the dough with equal amounts of the whisked eggs. Once done, insert the tray into the oven and bake the breads for 30-35 minutes or until the bread turns crispy and a little hard. It should sound hollow on knocking the breads.