New Orleans French Loaves

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“From the cookbook Cajun-Creole Cooking by Terry Thompson a chef and food critic who lived all her life in New Orleans. No need for misters, steam, clay bricks or complicated procedures. This recipe was developed for the food processor. Her note: A scientific discovery made by my good friend, Shirley Corriher, led to the addition of flavored vinegar to the French bread recipe. When testing breads prepared according to the age-old, long, slow-rising French method, it was discovered that the dough became acidic during extended and numerous risings. Her conclusion was simply to add acid at the beginning of the bread-making process. The resulting loaves had both the aroma and taste of the slightly soured and yeasty breads of Europe, without the long rising! Try this method with your favorite bread recipe, using as your guide one teaspoon of fruit-flavored vinegar for every three cups of flour. Don't be tempted to add more vinegar; excess acid can destroy the gluten in the flour. Please follow directions precisely.”
2hrs 35mins
2 loaves

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine water and sugar. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until blended. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, blend 3 cups flour, salt and vinegar. Add dissolved yeast mixture to flour mixture all at once.
  3. Process 3 to 4 seconds to combine. Stop machine to check consistency of dough. The dough should be wet and sticky with a slight degree of body. If it is too soupy, add additional bread flour, ONE TABLESPOON AT A TIME, processing to blend between each addition, until a wet, sticky dough is formed. (I have found adding too much flour makes for a heavy loaf and that is not original to the ones sold in New Orleans.).
  4. Process no more than 15 seconds to knead dough. Pour vegetable oil into a large bowl; oil hands and fingers well. Remove blade from processor, placing any dough which clings to it in bowl. Remove rest of dough to oiled bowl, forming dough into a loose ball. Turn dough over several times to coat completely with oil. Careful not to mix the oil into the dough.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours. When dough has doubled in bulk, stir down dough, removing all air from first rising.
  6. Position oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 1 double-trough French-bread pan or a triple baguette pan, using some of oil remaining in bottom of bowl. Thoroughly grease hands with some oil from bowl.
  7. To make 2 French loaves, pinch dough in half; lift out of bowl, 1 piece at a time. To make baguettes, divide dough into thirds. Lay dough in 1 trough of bread pan; repeat procedure with remaining dough. Because of its very wet and loose consistency, dough will shape itself. Brush dough surface thoroughly with some butter-and-salt mixture.
  8. Loosely cover loaves with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Reserve remaining butter-and-salt mixture. When loaves have doubled in bulk, carefully remove plastic wrap; brush loaves with remaining butter-salt mixture. Use very light pressure when applying butter mixture, taking care not to deflate loaves.
  9. Bake in center of preheated oven until golden brown on top, 25 minutes. Carefully turn loaves over in pan; bake about 10 minutes more to brown bottoms. Cool completely on cooling racks.

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