October 17, 2010

old fashioned french bread

This recipe has been passed down in my family for generations. My Mom has the recipe in a cookbook written down by her mother, my grandmother (Hi, Nana!). So it's a special recipe... and delicious.

It's also not that hard to make! The only thing that takes a lot of time is kneading the dough, but it's sooooo worth it. After you dissolve the yeast in warm water, it starts like all breads, with some flour:

We use olive oil instead of shortening. I asked my Mom about this and she said, "Honey I haven't used shortening in years!" I think it's because she once heard someone say if you put a little ball of shortening in a cup of water, it won't dissolve for like 5 years. Gross, right?! But regardless of the health factors, we love the taste of olive oil. So we use olive oil.

I took pictures of my Mom making this bread yesterday. She made it to serve all of us for dinner after a long day of attic blowing. Those hands have kneaded lots of dough. She's a pro.

Knead the dough 5 times every 10 minutes. Then the secret of this recipe: divide the dough in half and roll into rectangles (about 5 x 11 inches). Roll each rectangle up in jelly roll fashion, and score each loaf 6 times. Then let it do it's thing. See below:

See how it's rolled and risen to delicious perfection? Raise your hand if you love carbs!

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Right when it comes out of the oven, brush with melted butter. That will help the crust not get too tough while it's cooling. See the buttery goodness? Oh man. Please make this.

PS- I shook our vanilla extract babies today. The beans have lost a ton of tiny black vanilla seeds and they are floating all around in the bourbon. Yum.

Okay now here's the bread recipe!

Old Fashioned French Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon shortening (or olive oil)
4 cups flour (rough measurement)

Dissolve yeast in 3/4 cups warm water. Put remaining 3/4 cup water in large bowl, add salt, sugar and shortening (olive oil). Stir.

Add yeast misture to the salt, sugar and shortening mixture.

Add about 4 cups of flour and combine well. This forms the dough.

After combined, put ball of dough in a bowl and cover with a towel. For 5 times every 10 minutes, stir down dough well.

Divide and roll in rectangles 5 x 11 inches. Roll up each one in jellyroll fashion, making 2 loaves. Score each loaf 6 times.

Let rise until doubled in size, then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

When loaves come out of the oven, immediately brush with melted butter.


  1. I couldn't even begin to count how many times I made this bread over the years. It smells so good as it bakes and is ever so yummy !!

  2. just took this out of the oven and brushed it with butter like you said, i have to tell you it's the best french bread i had!!!, and my husband cant stop eating it, he have been telling me for a while now about how good it was the home made bread that his grandma used to make (she was french) and he loves this one he is just as good, will not buy french bread at the store ever again.... thank you for sharing

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  4. This bread is absolutely tempting. Definitely will give a try! So good!

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