French Bread is something I’ve always grown up with since it is used in Banh Mi, the Vietnamese sandwich. The exterior is somewhat crisp but still chewy and the inside is moist and soft – perfect for an overstuffed sandwich. Ben is very much so the sandwich lover so instead of making two large baguettes which would be great for dinner, I made four individual sub-sized loaves that will become filling sandwiches. I can see it now: pastrami, provolone, cheddar, pepperoni…I’m getting ahead of myself, but you get the picture. French Bread is very versatile when it comes to sandwiches. I can’t wait for Ben to try my freshly baked bread. No more of the store-bought loaves for us. That deserves two thumbs up.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (100 - 110 degrees F)
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- In a mixing bowl, combine the water and yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes to dissolve. Add the sugar, salt and flour; attach the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes on low to medium speed.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface and cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Shape each one into a cube and roll out into a 4"x5" rectangle. Starting with the long edge, roll each piece of dough jelly-roll style and pinch the seam to seal, including the ends that will need to be slightly folded under.
- Place each log of dough seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal; there should be at least 4 inches between each log of dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 40 minutes in a warm place (the dough should double in size).
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a rack in the lowest part of the oven. Fill a baking pan with 4 cups of water and place on the bottom (lowest) rack.
- Uncover the dough, brush with melted butter and use a knife to cut shallow slices in the tops of each one. Bake in the middle rack (over the water-filled pan) for 20-25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Transfer the bread to a metal rack to cool.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com