60 Minute French Bread Recipe
Thank goodness that somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered I had read about a way to make 60 minute French bread or bread in an hour or really, really fast bread, or words to that effect. We had guests coming to dinner, and I had forgotten to stop for a crusty loaf on my way home. Rats! I did NOT want to run back into town, and I was determined to figure it out!
I found several recipes, and I went with the one I thought sounded the easiest. To be honest, I was skeptical about the quality of bread I could make so quickly, but it is absolutely amazing! I make all kinds of bread, but now I know whenever I need a fantastic loaf of perfectly tender French bread with a gorgeous, crisp, golden-brown crust, this is the way! Boom!
If you are a bread baker, you probably know that bread consists of flour, water, yeast, sugar, and salt. So how does this crazy quick bread happen? Simply put, we change the proportion of yeast and sugar to flour.
Normally, a standard loaf of bread needs to rise twice. It rises first in the bowl for about an hour and again in the loaf pan for about 45 minutes. The amount of yeast in a typical one-pound loaf of bread is about 2 1/4 teaspoons (the contents of one packet of yeast) mixed into about 3 cups of flour, two teaspoons of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt.
In this recipe, we increase the amount of yeast to 4 1/2 teaspoons and the sugar to 3 teaspoons. The result is a faster rise, and we can quickly bake this yummy, yeasty bread. The loaf is skinnier and longer and is baked free-form on a sheet pan or a baguette pan, shortening the bake time. If you choose to bake in a baguette pan, the loaves will be shorter and skinnier, making them bake even faster.
The other key difference in this 60-minute French bread is the very hot 450-degree oven, a full one hundred degrees hotter than baking a standard loaf of bread. Every change made to the recipe and the method increases the speed! Oh, and that gorgeous, shiny, golden-brown crust? Brush an egg white wash on the loaf before baking, and you’ve just given this bread the ultimate beauty treatment!!
You Can Make A Gorgeous Crusty Loaf Of French Bread In One Hour Flat
You really can, and let’s get started! I did every bit of the mixing in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and it was a breeze. Look, ma, no hands! Begin by putting one and one-half cups of bath-water-warm water in the bowl with the sugar, yeast, and salt. The ideal temperature range for yeast is 105 to 115 degrees. Yeast enjoys a nice warm (not hot) bath as much as we do. Put the bowl in a nice warm place.
You may wonder if it matters whether you use instant yeast or regular yeast. The only difference is that instant yeast is processed into finer granules so you can mix it right in with the flour, saving a step. If you use instant yeast, you can add the flour right away. If you are using regular yeast, wait a few minutes after combining the water and yeast, watch for a few bubbles, and continue.
I wish I could tell you exactly how much flour to add, but many factors like temperature, humidity, and altitude influence that. Use the whisk attachment at first, adding the flour a bit at a time. Add the butter now. When the batter gets too heavy for the whisk, switch to the bread hook.
You will know when you have added the right amount because the dough will politely start cleaning the bowl, and it isn’t sticky anymore. The dough is a pleasure to handle, soft and silky, smooth as a baby’s cheek.
Now shape the dough into a long loaf, about 15 inches long, and slash the top with a serrated knife about four times. This step keeps the crust from cracking. Place it on a greased baking sheet; I used my trusty old bakestone. If you use a baguette pan (be sure to grease the pan first), your loaves will be shorter and skinnier and bake faster.
Preheat your oven now to 450 degrees. Cover the loaf with a tea towel, set it in a nice warm place, and let it rise for twenty minutes while it doubles in size.
Now for the magic that makes the loaf so lovely. Beat the white of one egg until it’s frothy and brush it over the entire surface of the loaf. Now pop that loaf in that blazing hot oven for about 20 minutes, or until the loaf is shiny and golden brown. It should sound hollow when you knock on the bottom.
If you want a darker, crisper crust, increase the bake time but watch carefully. And remember, if you make baguettes, they will bake faster! Begin checking at about 15 minutes!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, about 105 to 115 degrees F
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 4 1/2 tsp dry yeast or 1 1/2 packets
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tsp soft butter
- 3 1/2- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 egg white for wash
- Combine warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir until the yeast dissolves. If using regular yeast, watch for a few minutes to make sure bubbles are forming. If using instant yeast, proceed now to step 2.
- Use the whisk attachment to begin blending the flour in. Add the butter.
- When the dough gets too heavy for the whisk, change to the dough hook.
- Add flour gradually until the dough begins to pull away and clean the sides of the bowl.
- Continue adding small amounts of flour until the dough is not sticky and you can handle it easily.
- Grease a baking sheet or baguette pans and form loaves to fit.
- Slash the crust 3-4 times to prevent the crust from cracking.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Cover loaf or loaves with a tea towel and let the dough rise for twenty minutes, or until about double in size.
- Beat an egg white until it's frothy and brush it generously over the entire surface of the loaf or loaves.
- Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is a shiny, golden brown.
- Cool slightly before slicing.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 12g
Voila!! (That’s French!) You have just broken the land speed record for baking the prettiest French bread in town!! Slather on the butter and enjoy it! It makes great French toast; see a theme shaping up here? I offer lots of hints about yeast and bread-making in general in my post about “anything bread.”
Do you love bread, think about bread, dream about bread? You’re one of us! If you have a favorite bread recipe, we’re dying to hear about it! Here are a few of our favorites Rustic Artisan Bread, Dilly Bread, and Focaccia Bread.
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