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Fabulous French Bread (Renewed)

Fabulous French Bread (Renewed)
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The recipe I have to share with you today, is one of my favorite recipes of all time. In fact if I had to pick a tippy top favorite, this one just might be it. I usually make this bread several times a month, I love it so much. I have shared it here, back in the early days of my blog. While doing a bit of house/blog keeping the other day, I came across the old, original Fabulous French Bread post and boy howdy. The step by step photos looked like the dogs dinner, man. Terrible! Just ferocious. You know I couldn’t let my Favorite Recipe Of All Time hang around here looking like the dogs dinner, now could I. And so I am sharing it again with you today, polished up and hopefully a lot more appealing to look at. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go! Don’t be afraid of a little tiny thing like yeast. Good heavens, you could totally be rocking this bread. Here are some great reasons to make it.

The outside is crusty while the inside is soft and slightly chewy.

It freezes like a dream, I generally double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftover loaves for another meal.

It is cheap, cheap, cheap. I did the math once, and I think it came out to costing 15 cents per loaf.

It is a Soup Companion Extraordinaire, this bread makes any soup taste like a Soup Rock Star, seriously.

It also makes….

Fabulous Sandwiches, like this one here.
Wonderful French Toast
Killer French Bread Pizza
Easy Garlic Cheese Bread

Have I talked you in to making it yet? Boy, I sure hope so…let’s do it!

sliced loaf copyrighted

FABULOUS FRENCH BREAD
PRINT RECIPE
PRINT RECIPE WITH PICTURE

***NOTE: A Kitchen Aid Mixer works well for this recipe. If you would like to double or triple it, I would suggest using a mixer with a stronger motor. The Bosch Mixer works like a dream.***

Time: 1 hour
Yield: 3 loaves
Recipe from Krista Robinson

1 C boiling water
1/3 C warm water
1 T yeast (I use active dry)
2 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
1 C cold water
5-6 cups flour (I use all-purpose flour)
1 egg

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1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
2. Fill a glass measuring cup with 1 cup of water. Pop it into the microwave and heat it for 3 minutes, or until the water is boiling.
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2. Pour 1/3 C of warm water into a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of yeast over the top of the warm water…

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grab yourself a fork and stir the yeast into the water. Keep working it in until it is completely dissolved.
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3. Into your stand mixer place 2 Tablespoons of sugar,
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1 Tablespoon of salt IMG_2847_edited-1

and 1 Tablespoon of shortening.
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Grab a fork and mash these ingredients together,
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like this. :)
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4. Pour the boiling water over the sugar/shortening mixture.
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Add 1 cup COLD water (cold water from the kitchen faucet will be fine) into the mixer.
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Grab the yeast/water mixture and pour that in as well.
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5. Add 2-3 cups of flour and turn on your mixer to slow speed. You want to be sure to use the dough hook attachment.
6. While the mixer is on, add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time until the dough is firm enough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
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Like this.  Once you have enough flour turn the mixer to medium speed (high-speed if you are using a Bosch) and let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes.
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7. The dough should have a nice elasticity to it, and not be overly sticky. If you press your finger into the dough and it springs back you are good to go.
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Also, if a little bit of it stays on our finger when you test the dough, that’s just fine. If your dough is sticks like crazy to your finger, I would add a little more flour (about 1/4 cup) and let it mix for another minute.
8. Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
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9. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and dump the dough out onto it.
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10. Take a sharp knife and spray it with cooking spray.
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Cut the dough into three equal parts. Then let it rest for another 5 minutes. Be patient. :) If you don’t let it rest the dough will be hard to shape and manipulate, then you might do something fierce like pull all your hair out. We wouldn’t want that, now would we. Especially if you’ve got thin hair to begin with.  Wait the 5, won’t you?
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11. Take one section of dough and spread it out into a rectangle. No need to use a rolling pin, just press it out with your hands.
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12. Roll both of the long ends up and over one another.
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Then bring the sides up

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and turn your little loaf over, so the flat side is on top, and the seam side is on the bottom.

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Use your hands to tuck the seams under the loaf so you have a nice even side to your loaf, with the seams being hidden underneath.

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13. Cut three or four angled slits in each loaf, making sure not to cut through to the bottom of the loaf.
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14. Crack an egg into a small bowl or measuring cup
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and whisk it up with a fork. You want it to get nice and frothy.

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15. Spread the frothy egg out over the top of each loaf. Make sure to get some down inside the slits as well. This egg is going to make your loaves shine like the top of the Crysler Building. (Name that movie, anyone?)
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16. Pop your lovely loaves into the oven and let them rise for about 15 minutes,
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or until they are just about doubled in size.
17. Turn your oven up to 400 degrees (don’t take the loaves out of the oven while the temperature increases, just leave them be).
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18.  Allow the loaves to bake for 15-20 minutes (this time may vary depending on how fast your oven increases in temperature) or until the tops are golden and crisp.
19. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
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20. Remove the loaves from the pan and allow them to cool a bit before you slice into them.

Place leftovers in a Freezer Safe Ziploc Bag and pop them into your freezer.

Enjoy!!!

double loaf coprtighted

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59 Comments

  1. 1
    Carol V
    March 22, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Do you think this would work using a bread machine for the mixing? My stand mixer is not working. C.

  2. 2
    Jenny
    March 22, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I just needed to tell you how much my husband (and I) enjoy this recipe. The first time I made it, we ate a whole loaf while it was still warm!! Since then, every time I ask my husband what he’s going to want to eat over the next few weeks it goes something like this; umm…how about some chili and you can make that french bread, or how about lasagna and you can make that french bread and we can make garlic cheesy bread out of it…or how about some soup and you can make that french bread….are you getting the picture?? LOL!! Your recipe is what made me try using yeast again (I had given up in frustration of one disaster after another) and let me just say, you’ve created a monster!! Thank again!!

  3. 3
    Larilyn
    March 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Thank you, times two.

    Number one, thank you for the French bread recipe. My husband will be excited that he doesn’t have to scour the day old Walmart bread section anymore.

    Number two, thanks for the Annie quote. I now have Annie songs running rampant through my head!

  4. 4
    March 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Oh just thinking about the smell- how I want to do this RIGHT NOW!!! YUM! I just love a good french loaf.

  5. 5
    Sheryl
    March 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I discovered it awhile ago and it is wonderful. I make it regularly. My husband loves it. And you’ve made it so fast and easy! The only thing that didn’t work for me were the instructions on shaping the loaves. So now I just spread out each ball as flat as I can and then roll it up jelly-roll style. Then I pinch the ends tight and pinch along the seam. The rest of the instructions work perfectly for me! My other favorite from you is your Fluffy Dinner Rolls. Again, you have simplified them and they’re so fast to make and again, the best ever! Thank you!!!

  6. 6
    Diane
    March 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Just made my 3 loaves the other day. I always have at least one in the freezer at all times. It is AWESOME! Thank you for the recipe, and your blog.

  7. 7
    Lisette
    March 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

    First, Annie is all I have to say. :)

    Wow! My New Year Resolution is to become a better baker and bake something yummy every week. Needless to say, I have only baked 3 things thus far. This post is SUPER DUPER encouraging! I am going to make this bread this weekend! It will make my family so happy as they are die-hard bread lovers.

    Thank you for all your posts!

  8. 8
    Sheena
    March 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve been making this bread since you first posted it and I use it for EVERYTHING…sliced sandwich bread, hamburger buns, hotdog buns, individual sandwich loaves (think meatball sandwiches, or philly cheese steaks…yum) I’ve also made dinner rolls, and soup bowls with this bread. Come to think of it the only thing I havn’t used it for is breadsticks (but I use your super simple breadstick recipe for that…why mess with a good thing right?!) Thank you Jamie for all the time you spend helping me become a better cook, my family actually looks forward to homemade bread now instead of groaning when I pull out the baking pans =)

  9. 9
    Stacey
    March 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I was so excited that I actually knew the movie quote this time… until I read the other comments. Yeah, my thought was Lover Come Back with Doris Day. They do say that, but I guess it isn’t as popular as Annie. LOVE the bread. Funny, I had just looked this recipe up a few weeks ago and thought, hmm, no. Didn’t think that with the new pics though! Thought, oh yeah! Dinner anyone!?

  10. 10
    March 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    i have made this twice now and we love it!! i love that it freezes!! i have always been afraid of yeast but your step by steps made it so easy. we have tried lots of your recipes and have enjoyed all of them!!

    thank you.

  11. 11
    Kathy B.
    March 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I’m 57 years old and I have never made bread in my life. I don’t bake squat……I just don’t bake! But, I buy bread at Kroger all the time because hubby and I do love bread. What is even worse is that I finally purchased a Kitchen Aid mixer awhile back and I haven’t even used it once. Sad. But I am going to give it and this recipe a whirl. Somebody cheer me on!

    You know, the thing that scares me most about this recipe is I never know how “warm or UNwarm” that water is supposed to be for the yeast. Weird…I know. So, as you said, Jamie, I am no longer going to be afraid of a little ole thing like yeast.

    Now, where’s my apron? I’m off to make me some french bread!

  12. 12
    ewhatley
    March 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    This looks so good. I have the same question as Carol V – can we make this in the breadmaker. I realize that’s probably “cheating” but I’m a novice cook and would so love to have delicious freshly baked french bread.

    • 13
      Jamie
      March 23, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Carol and EWhatley,
      You can make this dough in a bread maker, but you would need to control the mixing manually so that the instructions in the recipe were followed. It won’t work as well if you just dump all of the ingredients in and then let it mix. Good luck!
      ~Jamie

  13. 14
    March 23, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Hi there Jamie, Can I use my “safs Instant”yeast for this..or do I need to get different yeast? thank you for all the wonderful recipes you post..;)

    • 15
      Jamie
      March 23, 2013 at 9:18 am

      Gina,
      Yes, Safs Intstant Yeast will work fine. I would suggest using just a bit less yeast, but other than that you should be fine.
      ~Jamie

  14. 16
    Beth
    March 23, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Hi, Jamie! Have you ever used the freshly milled hard white wheat with this recipe? I use it whenever I can to get the fiber and vitamins to balance out all the sugary desserts. :)

    • 17
      Jamie
      March 23, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Beth,
      I have used freshly milled white wheat for this recipe, and it’s not quite as good. It’s just ok. I would suggest using 3 parts white flour to 1 part white wheat flour and see if how you like it, then increase your use of the wheat flour from there. Good luck!
      ~Jamie

  15. 18
    Hanh
    March 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Jamie, I’ve never made bread before. You make it look so easy that I’m going to give it a try. I was wondering if I could substitute the shortening for butter instead?

  16. 19
    March 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I’ve been using the French bread recipe that gets stirred down every 10 minutes, but I can hardly wait to try this one. I also love having a loaf in the freezer for French toast, etc. Thanks for another great recipe!

  17. 20
    March 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Just found your site….as a mom of almost 5 kids I’m always looking for yummy ways to feed my growing boys! Can’t wait to try this and many more recipes! :)

  18. 21
    March 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Just found your site….as a mom of almost 5 kids I’m always looking for yummy ways to feed my growing boys! Can’t wait to try this and many more recipes! :)

  19. 22
    Jan
    March 25, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Great recipe! Sooo easy and delicious! Thanks for taking time for details!
    You’re inspiring an old woman to cook again!

  20. 23
    Kellie Herget
    April 20, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I dont know what I did wrong, but the loaves are not rising in the oven. They look flater that when I put them in, and its been about 30 min. I wonder if my yeast is old or something. Does yeast get old?

  21. 24
    Maryam
    April 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Jamie.I love this bread it looks fantastic.but I don’t have shortenin.is there any way to make this without it?and if I want to knead it with hand will it work?thanks.

    • 25
      Jamie
      April 29, 2013 at 6:31 am

      Maryam,
      I haven’t ever tried it with anything but shortening, so I’m not sure how it will work without it. I would suggest substituting butter. Also, you can knead it by hand but after you do so, put it back in the bowl and cover it with a cloth. Let it rise for an hour, then knead it again and proceed with the listed instructions. Good luck!
      ~Jamie

  22. 26
    Maryam
    April 29, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Thank you so much for taking time and answering my question.

  23. 27
    Abigail
    April 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Jamie,
    I need to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I subscribe to a few but honestly yours just melts my heart. I am a mom of four who stays home during the week but works every other weekend as a nurse. I love to cook, especially when no one bothers me. I also teach prenatal classes. For those classes I bake. I bake your recipes. I pass your blog on to all these moms to be in hopes that they will find you and be inspired to cook with love for their families. We especially love the cafeteria lady peanut butter bars and the cookie dough brownies. I have to freeze those or I will eat every one. I’m also eating dairy free right now because my youngest allergic to whey. I find most of your recipes very easy to manipulate. This French bread recipe will be attempted for the first time today. I’m new to bread but your way of explaining has been so helpful in the past. Thank you for your dedication to a yummy and funny blog.

    • 28
      Jamie
      May 2, 2013 at 5:19 am

      Abigail,
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment. Made my day. (Week!) So glad the recipes are turning out well for you, and thanks for passing my site along. :) Have a good one!
      ~Jamie

  24. 29
    June 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I just made this today to go along a french onion soup I made, and it’s so wonderful, took less than 20 minutes to do the prep work, and the oven doing most of it. my boyfriend even raved that it was the best bread he’s had in a while, it was very soft too. thanks again!

  25. 30
    Tina
    July 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Well at least I was hopeful. I thought I was making bread. It looked good all the way up to let it double in a 170 oven. My dough didn’t rise. So sad. My yeast is good until 2014 so not that. I’m thinking my oven was too hot for it to rise. If anyone can help me out I’d appreciate it. I will try this recipe again. I haven’t had one of yours fail me yet Jaime.

  26. 31
    Jo
    July 15, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Hi
    I chanced upon your site and am gearing myself up for a GO for some of your Bread recipes! They look way too cool not to give it a shot!

    Though I have some questions,… I’m using a KItchenAid 5quartz mixer, which was not recommended to heavy dough mixing. Believed the 6Quartz professional series is what you are using? How, do you think, should I make adjustment to the mixing speed and time? The other thing is: your recipes do away with the first rise, second and final rise found typically in bread recipes, right? With the 170F and 300F baking temperature, it has amply allowed the dough to proof?

    Appreciate your advice please. Can’t wait to clear these doubts and start on the bread making immediately!

    Tx!!

    • 32
      Jamie
      July 15, 2013 at 8:01 am

      Hi Jo,
      The only recipe that won’t work well in your kitchen aid is the Whole Wheat Bread recipe. It’s just too darn heavy for both the bowl and the motor. Everything else should work for you in a 5 quart Kitchen Aid. Some of the bread recipes you see here were made in a gray 5 quart Kitchen Aid, some are made in a red 7 Quart Kitchen aid so you will be fine with your 5 quart. As for the rising time, just follow the instructions and you will be set. The dough should rise nicely in the 170 degree oven. Good luck! Hope your bread making turns out fabulously!
      ~Jamie

  27. 33
    Jo
    July 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you so much!! U’re a gem!

  28. 34
    ziggy
    September 22, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I’d love to try this recipe but I’ve always heard that you never add yeast to boiling water. Between Step 1 and Step 2, do you wait for the yeast to get down to 90 degrees?

    • 35
      Jacks
      November 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I was super confused about that at first too… I studied it awhile (then made the recipe successfully) and it turns out that the “1 cup of boiling water” and the “1/3 cup of warm water” are two completely different things. The warm water is just separate non-boiling tap water that you mix the yeast into. The cup of boiling water you use in Step 4 when you “pour it over the sugar/shortening mixture”.

  29. 36
    Theresa
    September 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I just made this bread using coconut oil instead of shortening (because I didn’t have it), and it worked! Also, I used to have problems with my bread rising until I switched to bread flour. I can usually do half bread flour and half all-purpose with a longer rising time to cut costs.

  30. 37
    DeDe in OK
    October 2, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Hello from Okie land! I have tried to pin this recipe and the only photo it offers is the pic of the pyrex measuring cup. I would rather pin a pic of the actual bread. :) Got any suggestions for me?

    • 38
      Jamie
      October 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      DeDe,
      My site is having a little bit of tech trouble today. I am working a few things out. Maybe try to pin it in a couple of days and see if it will work for you. Also, is you go to Pinterest and download a Pin It button to your task bar, you can pin anything you like any where on the web even if that particular picture doesn’t have a pin it button included. Good luck!
      ~Jamie

      • 39
        DeDe in OK
        October 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

        Thanks for the info. I got it to work with the pin it button on the task bar. :) Blessings!

  31. 40
    Jim Warner
    October 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Have you ever made pizzas with this dough recipe?

  32. 42
    Koren
    October 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I’ve tried two of your recipes, this one and the honey wheat rolls, and neither one really rose until they were double in size. My yeast is new, I did the 170 degree oven…any ideas about what I’m doing wrong??

    • 43
      Jamie
      October 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Koren,
      What kind of oven do you have? Gas or electric?
      ~Jamie

      • 44
        Koren
        October 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

        Gas.

  33. 45
    Leigh
    October 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I have made this bread twice, each time the bread comes out really dense, any thoughts as to what I may be doing wrong?

    • 46
      Jamie
      October 29, 2013 at 7:07 am

      Leigh,
      I wonder if perhaps you are using too much flour, or maybe not letting the dough rise enough. Good luck! Hope this helps.
      ~Jamie

  34. 47
    Peaches
    October 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Today was the 2nd time that I made this recipe in ONE week (yeah, we love bread). Thanks for this super simple, easy to follow recipe. This was my first time EVER baking anything involving yeast. The fact that the loaves came out so nicely is very encouraging and has motivated me to start making homemade bread more often. Wish I could post a pic. Thanks again!

  35. 48
    Coco
    October 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

    This looks wonderful! I have been looking for a good French Bread recipe for ages. I do have one question though, is there something I can substitute for the shortening? I am allergic to soy. Is there a way to use butter, and less water… or perhaps coconut oil? Would that ruin it? Any ideas?

  36. 49
    Jacks
    November 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I have tried 3 or 4 French Bread recipes, and honestly I was about to give up :-( UNTIL this one! It turned out absolutely “fabulous” indeed ;-) And it was super easy compared to a couple other of the FB recipes I attempted! I will def be making this over and over again.
    I’ve had trouble with my bread dough rising in the past too (I have a gas oven, so letting it rise in the oven doesn’t seem to work). So this time I tried putting it on top of the stove while the oven preheated, covering it with a flour sack towel, and putting a heating pad (yes, a heating pad!) underneath the pan. It worked!!
    Had a question though…I’m gonna go ahead and freeze the other two loaves. What would be the best way to let them unthaw when I’m ready to use them?

    • 50
      Jamie
      November 19, 2013 at 6:16 am

      Jacks,
      So happy you are enjoying this wonderful bread recipe. To thaw, I generally just take them out of the bag and let them sit out on the counter for 30 minutes or so. I sometimes pop them in the microwave as well. Good luck!
      ~Jamie

  37. 51
    Lesley
    November 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I came about this recipe in kind of a backwards way, as I have been making your braided sandwich loaf for a while, which my family loves. This is now my go-to recipe for bread, sandwich rolls, etc. It’s great! And I know you said somewhere else (maybe on your freezer meals list?) that you haven’t had good luck with freezing the unbaked dough, but I do it often and no one seems to mind. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

  38. 52
    Val
    December 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I just made this for the first time and it was a total success. Thank you Jamie!

    One tip for all is… cool it on a cooling rack (like the picture shows). If you let it cool in the baking tray the bottom will go soft.

  39. 53
    Brie
    January 8, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I was just wondering if this recipe would work in a bread maker?

  40. 54
    COLLEEN FITZPATRICK
    February 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    OMG.. THIS IS THE BEST EVER RICIPE! I baked for my school district for years and this one tops the one they used.. and sooo easy. Rising it in the 170 degree oven made it poof up so pretty! I will be trying more of your recipes…ty ty ty

  41. 55
    Jessica
    February 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hi, I loved how easy this came together but it’s been in my electric oven for 20 minutes now and still hasn’t risen. I let the dough rest in the mixer for 5 minutes, then after removing and cutting into 3 parts, I let it rest for 8 minutes (I was doing the wash) and used Pam to line the tray, worked it like you said and nothing.

    I will let them sit there for a while, but I’m worried I’ll have rocks. Also, I picked up fresh quick rise yeast and ended up with 5.5 cups of flour I’m the end. My water was a bit warm, 160 when I poured the yeast over it.

  42. 56
    COLLEEN FITZPATRICK
    February 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Jessica,i just made this on sunday.. maybe your water for the yeast was too warm? if you feel it on your wrist and its just warm, then you are good to go.(like heating a babies bottle)

  43. 57
    Bruna
    March 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    This is a very good bread, I’ve made it several times and LOVE it. I usually have to increase the rising time, but no other problem.

    Question, if wanted to freeze the dough, at which point in the process would I do that?

    Thanks

    • 58
      Jamie
      April 1, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Bruna,
      The dough doesn’t freeze well. It continues to rise up for 15 minutes or so, even when it’s in the freezer. It doesn’t defrost well. However, once the loves are baked and cooled they freeze like a dream. Good luck to you, hope this helps!
      ~Jamie

  44. 59
    Keisha
    May 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Jamie, this recipe was so precise and the bread came out perfect. The crust was divine and the inner texture of the bread was superb!!! I also tried this dinner rolls and everyone in my family lovessssss them. Thank you for sharing these recipes.

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