Easy Artisan-Style French Bread

Artisan-style French bread, with a wonderfully crunchy crust that’s easy to make and ready to eat in 5-6 hours.

  • 400 g flour
  • 2 g Instant yeast (.5% of total)
  • 8 g salt (2% of total)
  • 300 g warm water (75% hydration)
  • Few drops of vinegar

Mix flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add water and vinegar and mix just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to remove the excess flour, and work into the dough. Remove dough hook and cover bowl with a plate.

In 20 minutes, mix dough for 20-30 seconds, remove dough hook and cover with a plate. Repeat 4-5 more times.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface then form the dough into a ball by rotating it between your hands and gently shaping it, pinching edges together underneath to make the top of the loaf as tight and smooth as possible. Try not to over handle the dough.

Generously flour the surface of a clean tea towel. Line a medium bowl with the floured tea towel then place the dough in the bowl, seam side down and allow to rise until double in size, about 2 hours.

A half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees and put a heavy pot with the lid on inside the oven. Cast iron or enamel pots work best, but the high heat will ruin the look of your enamel pot over time.

Carefully remove pot after 30 minutes, cover the bottom of the pot in a layer of cornmeal so the bread doesn’t stick, then carefully place the dough into the pot.

Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 20-30 minutes, until loaf is dark, golden brown.

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