Recipe by Sarah Phillips and Kelly Hong; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2009 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
French bread is typically made with flour, water and yeast. There are two ways to make authentic French bread - one from a straight yeast method and the other from a starter. This recipe uses the straight yeast method. The typical loaf of French bread is shaped into baguettes, which means stick or wand, baked in long crusty and browned loaves with a white interior and lots of irregularly shaped holes -- this long shape of loaf offers the maximum amount of crust to bread. It stales quickly because it contains no fat, lasting about a day at most. This is why people visit the local "Boulangerie" (bakery) and buy it daily in France. French bread is eaten at all meals, and forms the most important part of breakfast. For the beginning baker, French Bread is a good recipe to start with. It has few ingredients, requires no special equipment beyond a bowl and a cookie sheet or baking pan. The loaves can be shaped by hand.
I saw this recipe featured in a wine newsletter and became intrigued by it. I lost it in my vast filing cabinet, only to come across the recipe, again, with my notes written all over it, when I recently moved from my suburban house to a New York City apartment. I knew all of you would like it, completely rewritten by me with my alterations and improvements, still retaining the recipe's straight-forward instructions, but with much more details and with altered ingredient amounts, as well. It makes a two darn-good baguettes in the comfort of your home! Kelly's stunning photos certainly bring this recipe to life, and her excellent baking skills help highlight every step!
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KELLY SAYS: "The name of this recipe says it all...this is a very straight-forward recipe with excellent results! The crust is nice and crispy and the interior is soft and chewy.
Who needs to buy baguettes, when you can make them this well at home? YUM!!
I loved the recipe for baguettes so much that I decided to try this dough as a pizza crust. It was GREAT!"