Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Perfect Bread Recipe (and It's From France...Of Course!)

I've made a lot of bread in my life.

My mom taught me how to make her high-rising dinner rolls. They have become my must-make dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Her dinner rolls are the best.

My Aunt Marie taught me how to make her cornbread. Her cornbread is the best.

My grandma taught me to make her country breakfast biscuits. Her biscuits are the best.

Ever since I went to France in 2010, I've wanted to be a master bread baker. I've experimented here on my blog with lots of good bread recipes: Pain Fran├žaisFougasse au Romarin (Rosemary Fougasse) from Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris; and The Pioneer Woman vs. Grandma.

But I wanted a crusty outside and a soft inside. I was frustrated and nothing seemed to work.

Me, Leslie from Under the Apple Tree, and Emma from Words and Peace at BookExpo in Chicago last year.

Then I met Emma. I met her at BookExpo when it was in Chicago last year. Emma is a blogger at Words and Peace and she runs book tours at France Book Tours. Emma is from France. Emma shared a bread recipe that has changed my life. The recipe is the recipe used by a group of monks in a monastery in France. I can't explain it, but it is almost as if the happy peace and joy of the monastery has somehow soaked into this recipe. The bread comes out perfectly every time.

Can it get any simpler than this?
  • 3 cups flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water

  1. Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and mix.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough sit at room temperature for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, move it to a well-floured surface. Fold dough and shape into a ball.
  4. Place in a parchment paper-lined bowl and cover with a towel. Let stand on counter top for about 35 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, place Dutch oven with lid in a cold oven and preheat to 450° F.
  6. When oven reaches 450° carefully, using oven gloves, place parchment paper and dough from the bowl gently into the hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Take off lid. Return, uncovered, to oven and bake 10-15 more minutes.

The old cast iron Dutch oven is perfect for baking crusty bread. Beautiful, isn't it?

 And the taste? Magnifique!

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  1. I love making bread! This is indeed a simple recipe and it produces such a wonderful bread. Don't you just love the smell of bread baking?

  2. I've tried baking with yeast many times and have had very little success so I've given up. I wish I could make bread like that!

  3. My mom has made bread in a Dutch oven and has huge success. I'll have to give this recipe a try, although we are trying to eat less bread... :)

    1. I can't believe how perfect it comes out. There's no kneading. Crazy.

  4. My bread making is similar, in a bread cloche, with the lid off the last half of baking. We love it too.

    1. That word---"cloche"---is new to me. I will have to look it up. Maybe I need one, too.

  5. Your bread looks amazing! I used to bake bread when my kids were younger. Everyone loved eating it and making it.. But that was the problem.. we loved eating it ! Now, for my husband and I, I just don't go to all the trouble..

  6. French bread, like your recipe, contains no other ingredients than yeast, flour, salt, and water. So I can believe that it might taste like the baguettes in a Paris boulangerie.

    The New York Times published a no-knead bread some years ago that was widely discussed. I haven't tried it so I can't tell if this is similar or very different.

    best... mae at

  7. This looks delicious. Unlikely that I will make it but I love reading receipes!

  8. You are clever! Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  9. congratulations! glad it helped. the funny thing though is that, even though I know many monks, I didn't discover it through monks. it is a recipe my husband found on youtube, it's done by "jenny can cook"!! but yes, it works every time!
    something we just discovered though: the importance of respecting the rising times, especially the 2nd one: you would think, well, we did, the longer the better. wrong: if you let it rise too long, everything comes back flat!

  10. Oh my, I am definitely going to try this!

  11. This recipe sounds so simple. I have never tried baking bread before and have always been intimidated by it. I could try this one.

    1. Absolutely. And once you have tried it, you will be filled with confidence.

  12. I've always found baking bread to be the impossible challenge- given that I haven't actually tried it yet!

  13. You know, I'm gluten free, but i do fine in france. Like Mae says, french bread has no preservatives etc. This recipe looks so simple, im tempted to try it...merci..

  14. Deb, This recipe does sound easy. I'm tempted to give it a try.

  15. This does sound so easy and looks so good I can almost smell it from here.

  16. Bread baking and cast iron all in one post! Love it!!!! But seriously, nothing beats home-baked bread. Yummmmm.

  17. This reminds me of the bread we used to make in Home Ec in high school!


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