Baking the Perfect French Loaf

Baking the Perfect Loaf but I sure wish I had a Sourdough Starter then it would taste even better. :)


If you have three hours before dinner you can make this bread easily.

Right now, I am back in Philadelphia visiting my family and they requested bread.So, I decided to make French Style Bread but instead of using water in the recipe I used chicken stock. When I used to work at Bouchon the baker made bread with vegetable stock for a special sandwich.I wanted to experiment and see with chicken stock. I tasted the bread when it was done and it was richer but I could not pick up the chicken taste. I was always told when baking at home add steam to get a thin, crunchy,beautiful crust to bread.But I learned a trick by using a dutch oven.

I do miss the ovens in bakeries and the smell of bread every morning.

For this bread, I used a very basic recipe and had to knead the dough entirely by hand. It took over 20 minutes to knead. I wish I would have brought my mixer from Colorado.


Breads go through 12 Steps

1.)Scaling and Mixing:Heat the chicken stock or water to 110F and combine with the dry ingredients. Remember yeast is living so if you heat the liquid to high YOU WILL KILL THE YEAST! Knead 

bread 1


2.)Keep kneading or you can always throw it in the mixer. Proper dough is the first step to achieving great tasty bread. Knead until you get a full window pane.

bread 3


3.)Bulk Fermentation:Place 1 Tbsp of oil in a bowl and brush to cover completely. Put the dough inside the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.Let rest/proof until doubled in size about 1-2 hours

bread 2


4.)Punching:Take the dough out of the bowl and punch the air out.

Dividing & Rounding:Then roll into a tight round loaf(Boule) and pinch the seam together to try to prevent it from opening again.

bread 5

5.)Benching & Proofing:Dust a towel with flour and place the dough into a bowl to proof the 2nd time. The dough should double in size.

bread 6

~You can proof right on parchment I find it easier to drop into the dutch oven later on when it is proofed. When I baked this loaf I did not have parchment because I am at my parent’s house.

6.) Scoring & Baking in a Dutch Oven: See note about baking below. Score the bread 1/4″ deep with a knife or a lame.

bread 7


bread9 bread10

Baking in a Dutch Oven:
A fantastic way to get a crust on a bread!
*Preheat the dutch oven lid and all in a 500F oven for 30 minutes before the dough is proofed too much. Time management. :)
*Score/Cut the bread with a knife 1/4″ deep then place in the dutch oven with lid on and reduce the oven to 450F. Just please be careful. Make sure to put the lid back on.
*Cook for 15 minutes then take off the lid
*Rotate the Dutch oven every 15 minutes
*Cook for at least 30 minutes or until dark brown but not burnt.
*Let cool 15 minutes at least on a cooling rack.

How it works? The dutch oven traps the moisture in the dough and that creates the steam you need to get that crisp and shiny crust. The only drawback is you have shape the bread accordingly to your dutch oven. No one likes restrictions.

 Side Notes:
~ To make bread is not complicated there are recipes that only take 5 minutes!! It tastes better than wonder bread.

~Not sure when the bread is done? You can always tap the bottom of the bread and it should sound hollow when done. Or you can insert a thermometer and it should be 190-210F. I like my bread really dark which also has a thick crust.

~You can bake the bread on a sheet tray which I highly recommend the investment of a dutch oven.

To make bread taste even better

make your own Sourdough Starter check out my blog post.but it takes 11 days at least to get flavor.

[yumprint-recipe id='23'] 

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