French Bread Recipes
French bread recipes are perfect for those who want to impress their family or friends, or simply enjoy the taste of fresh baked bread with a crispy crust with warm, soft insides. Useful for garlic bread, a side for dinner, or for homemade stuffing, fresh French bread has many uses in the standard kitchen. As French bread often comes in loaves too long to easily work with, making your own at home allows you to make it in exactly the size you want.
There are several characteristics to good French bread. The crust should be crispy with a bit of crunch, without being so tough you cannot bite through it. The inside of the bread should be soft without being so light it is flaky or too dense. The best French bread recipes will bring both of these characteristics to the forefront while also providing the smooth, rich taste expected of a good bread.
Like many other breads, French bread recipes call for the bread to be kneaded and allowed to rise. Kneading bread is a skill that takes practice to get accustomed to. The key with kneading bread is to not over knead it. You want to make it smooth and stretchy without the dough splitting apart or turning rubbery. Once you have kneaded the bread, you will need to be able to judge when it has risen enough. This also takes practice, as some recipes will tell you how much it should rise rather than the amount of time it takes for the rising to occur. You can expect undesirable textures the first time you make bread that requires one or several rounds of rising. However, it is very simple to grasp once you have done it once or twice.
Most French bread recipes tend to be fairly simplistic. As many people use French bread as a starting point for other recipes, most do not embellish on the standard recipes. Those that do tend to add herbs or cheese to the bread to give it a little extra flavor. French bread recipes tend to avoid turning French bread into sweet breads, although it is very common for French bread to be used as a base for bread puddings. In the case where French bread is used for bread pudding, some recipes may add spices that go well with bread pudding.
Like many other breads, it is very important to follow French bread recipes very carefully, as the amount of yeast and flour used is important to make sure the bread rises properly and has the correct texture.