French country bread is an easy bread that will only take 15 minutes preparation, kneading included. This bread needs to rest at least one hour so the yeast and the gluten can develop properly.
And to finish you can bake it in a covered dutch oven. Why covered? Because, this will keep all the humidity inside. And this humidity helps create the nice golden crust on your authentic French country bread. This a step by step recipe with pictures. Everybody can do this bread recipe, it doesn't require any skills. You will have a wonderful crusty French bread.
Be careful, you'll be absolutely tempted to eat your bread right after baking it with some French butter!
Tools for your French country bread recipe
Tools for kneading your French country bread
The steps of the French bread recipe will slightly change depending on what you use, but in any case you will have an amazing result for a minimum of work. Oh and if you do not have any of these tools you can knead by hand. With all this technology, we would almost forget the simplest things!
Furthermore, you can, at the time of kneading, add seeds / dried fruits (nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, raisins, prunes in pieces, dried apricots in pieces, etc.) to your French bread dough.
- Kitchen Aid: Our first choice for kneading the bread (Or any raised dough) is the Kitchen Aid. Using the dough hook, you will have the perfect result. What we like about the Kitchen Aid is that you can use it for a lot of different recipes. You can find many attachment for many different uses. And the prices are very reasonable.
- Bread machine: It is a good option for bread, unfortunately you will be using it mainly for your bread dough, and nothing else.
- All Clad food processor: This food processor is great for a lot of things including kneading. But you can also make all kinds of savory and sweet dishes with this beauty.
- By hand: Yes by hand!! Be aware that kneading requires energy, and you need to knead the dough at least 10 min for a good result.
Baking in a French dutch oven
We highly recommend the Le Creuset dutch oven. This is the best quality you can find. And you will keep it for a life time! They are absolutely perfect for the French country bread recipe, but also for all kinds of stews. You can't go wrong with Le Creuset dutch oven. And we absolutely love all the colors!
Ingredients of our French country bread
- 300g of water
- 10g dry active yeast
- 500g of flour
- 10g of salt
Preparation of the perfect French country bread recipe
Kneading the French country bread with a Kitchen Aid (That's what My French Recipe recommends)
Mix the warm water (not hot, otherwise you will kill the yeast) with the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes to activate the dry yeast. (Wake up the nice bacteria present in the yeast that were at rest) Pour the flour and salt into the Kitchen Aid bowl. With the help of the hook, knead for 10 minutes. You must obtain an elastic dough that no longer sticks to the bowl. This is the sign that your dough is ready to rise.
Kneading the French country bread with a Clad food processor
Put the water and the yeast in your food processor: 2 minutes, 37 °c , speed 2. Add the flour mixed with the salt: 10 minutes, bread function.
Kneading with the bread machine
Mix the warm water (not hot otherwise you will kill the yeast) with the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes to activate the dry yeast. Pour the flour mixed with the salt. Mix. Add the water with the yeast. Start the dough program.
Kneading the French country bread by hand: A good way to exercise!
Start as with the Kitchen Aid:
Mix the warm water (not hot otherwise you will kill the yeast) with the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes Pour the flour and salt into a bowl. Mix. Add the water and yeast mixture.
Knead for at least 10 minutes with energy. To knead by hand, you must crush your dough with the palm of your hand, catch the dough and hit it against the table. Repeat for at least 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic.
Let it rise!
After kneading, cover with a cloth and let rise 1 hour to 1h30 in a warm room of the house. The dough must at least double in size.
Put a sheet of parchment paper in your beautiful Le Creuset dutch oven. Drop your dough by making a nice ball. Cut with a knife: cross, grid, find your signature!
Cover the dutch oven with its lid. Start to bake in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 240 ° C (475 ° F) and bake for about 40 minutes.
It can be very tempting to open the lid to watch the bread baking, but do not do it! Keeping the lid closed keeps the steam inside and this is what makes it possible to have a nice golden crust. If you lift the lid, the steam will come out and you can say goodbye to your crusty bread!
Be careful when taking the dutch oven from the oven, it is very very hot! Take out the bread, and let it cool.
Preservation of your French bread
Your French bread should be eaten in 2 days. (We are pretty sure that it well take less time than that though ;) ) But the best way to enjoy it for a long time, is to freeze it in slices. Put the thin slices in freezing bags. Take out a slice whenever you feel like it. Pass it directly to the toaster without defrosting. No need to take out the whole bread!