Artisan-Style French Bread
- For the pre-ferment mixture, combine the 1 cup warm water and the 1/4 teaspoon yeast; set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the 1 cup bread flour and the rye flour.
- Stir yeast mixture (make sure yeast has dissolved); add 1 tablespoon of the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Discard remaining yeast mixture. Add the 3/4 cup warm water to the flour mixture, stirring until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours (surface of mixture should be bubbly).
- Add the 1 cup warm water to the flour mixture and stir until combined. In a large bowl stir together 3 cups of the bread flour, the salt, and the 1/2 teaspoon yeast; pour the water-flour mixture into the dry flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined.
- Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead dough only a couple of strokes (dough will be very sticky). Cover; let rest 20 minutes.
- Knead dough for 3 to 5 minutes more. If dough is too sticky to work with, knead in up to 1/4 cup more flour (dough will be wetter and softer than you may be used to). Dough should be smooth, but still sticky after kneading. (Or, place dough in the large mixing bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough on medium speed for only 1-1/2 minutes and no longer.) If kneaded by hand, place dough in an ungreased, large bowl. Cover bowl (not surface of dough) with plastic wrap; let rise until nearly double in size (2 to 2-1/2 hours).
- Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface; divide dough in half (handle dough very gently, trying not to disturb air holes). Using floured hands, gently form each dough half into a small rectangular shape. Cover each with a large bowl or plastic wrap; let rest for 30 minutes.
- Using floured hands, gently pull each piece of dough into a 12-inch baguette or a 6-inch round loaf, handling dough gently so not to disturb big bubbles inside. For baguettes, roll the shaped dough onto parchment paper. Place baguette dough into baguette pans, parchment paper side down. For round loaves, gently place shaped dough into two greased 8x1-1/2-inch round baking pans. Cover; let rise until double in size (for 30 to 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place pans in oven. Working quickly, mist the inside of the oven, including the bread, heavily with water. Bake about 20 minutes or until deep, golden brown and bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped (or until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F). Immediately remove from pans. Cool on wire racks.
- Makes 2 loaves (28 slices).
From the Test Kitchen
Prepare dough as above, except stir 2 large cloves garlic, minced, and 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed, in with the 3 cups flour in Step 3.
Dried Tomato-Rosemary Bread:
Prepare dough as above, except stir 1/2 cup dried tomatoes (not oil packed), snipped, and 1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, in with the 3 cups flour in Step 3.
Nutrition Facts (Artisan-Style French Bread)
- Per serving:
- 72 kcal ,
- 0 g fat
- (0 g sat. fat ,
- 0 g polyunsaturated fat ,
- 0 g monounsaturated fat ),
- 0 mg chol. ,
- 167 mg sodium ,
- 14 g carb. ,
- 1 g fiber ,
- 2 g pro.