snowy mountain

Yeasted French Bread

I really wanted a simple, quick bread recipe–one that I could decide in the morning that I wanted to bake bread and by afternoon actually be eating the bread (in other words, one that didn’t require me to wake up my sourdough starter that is usually dormant in the fridge). And voila! This is the winner.

For bread, I really recommend buying a scale (I know, I was skeptical at first too…). But it really helps, especially when starting out, because you will learn the different dough textures.

This bread can take as little as 6 hours to make, or as long as a day (if you let it partially rise in the refrigerator to slow down the process). Adjust it to your scheduling needs, and don’t worry about exact times too much!

“Stretching” dough means pulling up the edges and pushing them towards the center, rotating the bowl as you go to do it in about 5 sections. (Feel free to slightly wet your hand before doing it to prevent stickiness.) (See the Chocolate Bread recipe for a good demonstration of stretching.) The dough texture for this bread before rising should be something like in this video:

Total time: 8-12 hours. Makes 1 loaf.

Materials: 1 mixing bowl; measuring vessels; baking pan; steaming pan (optional); razor or sharp knife. Missing materials or ingredients? Look here.

Ingredients (Substitutions):

  • 1 packet (7 grams) active dry yeast (such as Red Star)
  • 60 grams (¼ cup) warm water and 235 grams (1 cup) warm water
  • 375 grams (~3 cups) flour (I use a combination of all purpose and whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Any nuts or seeds you desire (I like wheat berries!)
  • Ice cubes (for steam in the oven)



  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 packet (7 grams) active dry yeast with 60 grams (¼ cup) warm water. Let sit ~10 minutes to activate.
  2. Add in 235 grams (1 cup) warm water. Then slowly add in 375 grams (~3 cups) flour along with 1 tsp salt using a wooden spoon and maybe your hands.
  3. Cover and let rise in the fridge for ~6 hours, stretching it occasionally if you are available.


  1. Remove the dough from the fridge, stretch it a few times, cover, and let rise at room temperature for ~3 hours.


  1. Preheat the oven and your baking pans to 425˚F. Ideally, one has a Dutch oven, but if you don’t (like me), I instead bake my bread on a cast iron pan on the top rack. On the bottom rack I place another small pan, and when I put the dough in the oven I place a few ice cubes in that pan to create steam, which helps the crust form.
  2. Sprinkle the dough with some flour, transfer to the hot pan, and score the top with a razor. Bake for ~30 minutes. Better to let it cool before slicing!

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