If social media is any indication, bread shortages and boredom seem to have absolutely everyone experimenting with homemade bread these days. If you’ve mastered a basic loaf, it’s time to up your game with this crusty artisan bread. Not only is it delicious, but it’ll leave your kitchen and home smelling like an upscale French boulangerie.
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3 tablespoons sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups bread flour
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in warm water; let stand until bubbles form on surface. Whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour. Stir oil into yeast mixture; pour into flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead (which means to push), pull, and stretch until smooth and elastic, for 8-10 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 and a half to 2 hours. This is called “proofing,” which allows the yeast to do its work and make the bread grow. This works best in a warm, humid environment, so we recommend covering with a clean dish towel.
- When fully proofed, uncover and give the dough a punch in the middle to let some air release and allow the dough to unstick from the bowl.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a round loaf. Place in 2 greased round loaf pans. Cover and let rise again until doubled, 1 to 1 and a half hours.
- Bake at 375° until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped or has reached an internal temperature of 200° (approx. 30-35 minutes).
- Transfer from pans to wire racks and let cool.