“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
~ James Beard
When my family was in town last weekend, we cooked and baked our faces off. For dinner Friday night we made delicious chicken, sweet potato fries, and sauteed kale, plus some double-chocolate zucchini bread and awesome rosemary, lemon, & cheddar bread for munching on later. It was fairly prolific, if I do say so myself.
The problem with that is that—as previously mentioned—I have a very small kitchen. We started to run into trouble with number of burners in use, how many items could be in the oven and at what temperature. It got to be 2-3 hours from dinner time and I realized none of my bread possibilities would be ready for dinner. And that wasn’t going to work, because my mom loves bread. Like…LOVES it. Has to have it with every meal.
So I dove back into my Pinterest board and came up with this gem—1-hour French bread. I was skeptical, because good things take time, particularly when they involve yeast. But I decided to give it a try and it was great. Probably as good as the artisan bread I made a few weeks ago that had to rise several hours before baking.
The recipe seriously took about an hour and a half start-to-finish, and that’s partly because I was making several other things at the same time. It was warm, yeasty, and delicious.
Note, I halved the recipe because we only needed one loaf for dinner, so that’s why the dough looks small.
Put the warm water in a bowl (not too hot), sprinkle the yeast in and the sugar as well. Let sit for five minutes. The top should start to kind of bubble.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Stir together until it becomes dough. Don’t over-stir. Mine was way more dry than the picture from the original recipe (linked at the bottom of this post). I was worried about that, but the bread came out great anyway.
Knead the bread for a minute or two.
So weird, looked more like biscuit or scone dough rather than bread.
Run your microwave for two minutes, then put a warm, wet towel over the bowl and put the bowl in the now-warm microwave. Let it rise for 15 minutes. This is what mine looked like after 15 minutes—again, not at all like the original recipe’s picture, but tasted great.
Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a log (like a jelly roll), tucking the ends under. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet (or in my case, I just put foil down and VERY lightly sprayed it with oil).
Using a serrated knife, make some slashes in the loaf. This lets out steam and keeps it from splitting on its own.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. I think I might broil for a minute or two at the end next time. I might even try putting a small pan of water in the oven as well to create more steam and make an even crustier outside and chewy inside.
Look at that!
Let cool a little before serving (this will preserve some of the crustiness of the bread).
The crew devoured it, and raved about the flavor and texture. And it only took an hour!
1-Hour French Bread
This is for two loaves, I halved the recipe.
2 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of oil
5 1/2 to 6 cups of flour
- First, put the water in a big bowl, add yeast, and then sprinkle the sugar on top. Let it sit for about five minutes until you see the yeast get all bubbly on top.
- Stir in the salt, oil, and flour (mine didn’t look anything like the original recipe’s picture, much drier). Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is smooth and pulls away from the bowl. Then cover the bowl with a warm wet towel and let the dough sit for about 15 minutes. It helps if you turn your microwave on for two minutes before setting the dough to rise, and then you can set the bowl of dough in the warm microwave for the 15 minutes–this warm environment helps the bread rise faster.
- Once it’s risen for 15 minutes, divide the dough into two loaves, rolling each like a jelly roll and tucking in the ends. Place them on a greased cookie sheet. Take a serrated knife and slash the tops diagonally. Allow the loaves to sit for a few minutes while you preheat your oven to 375. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
- I haven’t tried this, but have for other breads…you could put a small pan of water on the tray under the baking bread, which makes some steam and could make the outside even a little crustier.
Original recipe here