Quick and Easy French Bread Recipe

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A Classic Crusty Bread Without Too Much Effort

The very term "French bread" conjures images of early-morning French bakers, elbows in flour, endlessly kneading dough between risings until they produce exquisitely formed loaves with a perfectly crisp but pliable crust, just in time for their first customers at store's opening.

If this is not you, however, you still have options for baking a delicious loaf of French bread. Forget the hours of kneading – this recipe requires none of that and only two short risings.

Total Time: 2 to 3 hours | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons

    Active Dry Yeast  1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110F to 120F) Oil for baking sheets

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine 3 1/2 cups flour, salt and yeast.
  2. Turn on the machine, then pour about 1 cup water through the tube.
  3. Process the mixture until it becomes doughy; i.e., add enough water to form a still-sticky but firm ball of dough. This should take just a minute or so – no need to actually knead it.
  4. Place dough into a bowl, cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise for at least one hour.  
  5. Punch down the dough, and

    spread some flour onto a counter.  6. Place the dough onto the counter and form into either one large or two small loaves. Just shape it with your hands into an elongated, baguette-like shape, or use a rolling pin to roll it somewhat flat, then roll it up like a tootsie roll into a narrow loaf. If the dough sticks to your hands, add flour as you shape. 7. Place the formed loaf (or loaves) on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with a cloth or oiled plastic and let rise for about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. While rising, heat the oven to 400F.
    8. With a sharp knife, make a few slices in the top of the loaf (or loaves), and place into the oven, reducing the heat to 375F. 9. Bake until a warm, golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.