How to make French Bread

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Aerial shot of Sliced French Bread with bread knife on the side

French Bread generally has a harder texture. This recipe gives a tasty sourdough flavor to your succulent nutty bread. Ideal for soups soaked in olive oil, or add your favorite filler like ham or cheese. A starter dough will need to be prepared the day before and refrigerated. For those who have a desire for hard sourdough bread, this is a favorite.

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Time & Serves

Prep Time
300 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
325 mins


Pâte Fermentée
  • 500 g All-Purpose Flour

  • 1 g Salt

  • 250 g Water

  • 1 g Dry Active Yeast

  • 550 g All-Purpose Flour

  • 500 g Pâte Fermentée

  • 300 g Water

  • 3 g Dry Active Yeast

  • 10 g Salt


Pâte Fermentée (PM)

Put all dry ingredients in a mixer, using the paddle attachment mix for 1 minute. Add 3/4 water and mix at slow speed for 3 minutes. Adjust water and continue mixing for about 5 minutes, so the dough is just tacky.

Ball dough, then slightly butter and let ferment while covered until 1.5 times in size. Knead lightly to degas, place in a tightly closed container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove Pâte Fermentée from the refrigerator and let it thaw for an hour.


Add dry ingredients to a mixer using the dough hook attachment and mix for 2 minutes. Add Pâte Fermentée and 3/4 water. Mix on medium speed. Continue to add water until the dough is slightly tacky.

Switch to fast speed and run to develop the dough into a smooth, silky dough, about 6-8 minutes. Ensure that the dough is cleared from the sides of the bowl and slightly sticky.

Very lightly flour table. Remove from the bowl, ball, and place on the table. Lightly oil and leave to ferment, while covered with a kitchen towel, for about 2 hours.

Now lightly punch to degas and repeat the above step.

Remove and place on very lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 pieces. Form boule shapes degassing as little as possible (research boule shaping bread). Place on lightly oiled sheet pans. Score bread if needed. Optional: Sprinkle a little corn meal across top.

Heat oven to 475 F. Place an empty cake pan (or bowl) on the bottom shelf for steam.

Place dough in the oven. Quickly add 1 cup water to the steam pan. Spritz water on the inside of the oven to generate more steam and closing the oven door immediately after. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 350 F.

After 5 minutes, remove the steam pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and place onto a rack to cool.

For serving, place in oven reheated to 350 F for a few minutes if desired.

Storing Extra French Loaf

Extra loaves can be placed in moisture-proof plastic bags and stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

For longer storage use deep freeze. 

When desired, just remove, thaw, and place in a 350 F prepared oven for 3-5 minutes.

Narandradath Jaikaran

Precision meets Passion: A fusion of Narandradath's Engineering Expertise in Cake Design and Craftsmanship.

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French Bread, Baguette, Trinidad Bread, Sourdough, Bread, hard dough bread

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