Your Own Crusty French Bread

“My father got this recipe some 40+ years ago at TWA. Crusty yet chewy outside - melt in your mouth inside. Smear with garlic butter and watch it disappear! I've taken a photo showing the bread in the hand formed foil baking pans, this is the 2nd rise. Final picture is fresh out of the oven.”
2hrs 45mins
3 loaves

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Dissolve yeast in very warm water.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Let proof for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in 2 cups of the flour, sugar and salt until mixture is smooth; gradually beat in enough of the remaining 5 cups flour to make stiff dough.
  5. (Kitchen Aid is perfect for this).
  6. Turn out onto lightly floured pastry cloth or board and knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding only enough more flour to keep dough from sticking.
  7. Return to bowl; brush top with soft shortening or oil and cover with clean towel or plastic wrap.
  8. Let rise till double in bulk in warm place away drafts (approximately 45-60 minutes).
  9. Punch dough down; cover; let rise again for 30 minutes (again in warm place away from drafts) or until double in bulk.
  10. While dough rises, make boat shaped baking pans as follows:
  11. Tear off 3 twenty-inch-long sheets of heavy aluminum foil.
  12. Fold in sides of foil approximately 1"-1 1/2" on all 4 sides to form baking pan, this will allow the bread to rise up and not spread out into a flat shaped loaf by folding the short ends together to seal, pressing thumb inside to round slightly (shape into boat)with shortest ends slightly rounded.
  13. Spray with PAM and sprinkle lightly with corn meal.
  14. Punch dough down, knead 1 minute on lightly floured pastry cloth or board.
  15. Divide dough into thirds.
  16. Roll out with the palm of your hands to a rope approximately 18 inches long; place in prepared foil pan.
  17. Repeat with remaining two-thirds dough.
  18. Make 3-4 evenly spaced shallow cuts diagonally in the top of each loaf; brush with warm water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  19. Cover with clean towel and let rise in warm place away from drafts till double in bulk (approx. 30 min).
  20. Preheat oven to 450º.
  21. Place dish (I use an old aluminum pie plate) on lower shelf of oven and fill half way with hot tap water.
  22. Slide loaves on shelf above water.
  23. Bake for 15 minutes in 450º oven; reduce heat to 350º and bake 30 minutes longer.
  24. Bread is done when tapped and gives a hollow sound.
  25. Remove immediately from pans and let cool on cooling racks.
  26. Slice bread- spread each side with garlic butter- reassemble bread loaf and return to foil pans.
  27. Unfold edges to cover and warm in low oven (325º) till butter melts into bread.
  28. Serve warm.

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