Baking the French Bread

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 54,963
    Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to bake french bread.

    Amy Riolo: Hi, I am Amy Riolo and we are making French Pains au Lait. Now we have shaped our french bread and we have left them rise for an additional 20 minutes and you can see they have gotten a little bit bigger in volume and they have got a little bit more springy. Now we can remove our plastic wrap. Now we can get them ready for baking and the first thing that I am going to do is with a sharp knife I am just going to make some horizontal lines across the top of the loaves and these slash marks really give it just a nice look and it helps. We are going to put some milk on top and this will help to make a nice little place for the milk to go and the bread will be nice and golden. This bread is wonderful because it actually has three textures. It's very crunchy on the bottom, it's golden and crisp on the top and it's nice soft and pillowy in the middle.

    So we are just going to with a pastry brush just brush a little bit of milk on top. Make sure you get the sides and this will make sure that you have even browning. Whenever I make this bread I am reminded of a bakery in Paris called Poilne and Poilne is a very famous Parisian bakery known for its breads and make specifically breads and it was started in the early 1900s. During World War II a lot of people couldn't afford to pay for breads in Paris. So one artist had the idea because this -- the baker was nice enough to give people bread on credit, one particular artist said, Well, I am going to pay him back with a painting. So he made a painting of Pains au Lait and once he did that, he told his artist friends and the idea really spread throughout the artist community in Paris and before he knew it, the owner of Poilne had these paintings of bread literally from ceiling to floor all over the bakery. So if you ever have a chance to go to Paris you can see this wonderful interior of the bakery because of one artist's idea.

    Now we can take our breads and bake them. Our oven has been preheated to 400 degrees. This is something that it's good to do while your breads are rising for a second time so that it will be perfectly hot and at the right temperature and we will go ahead and place them in the oven now. This we are going to bake for approximately 30 minutes or until they are golden brown. The most important thing because ovens vary, is to make sure that the bread is nice and golden brown on top and this is what they look like when they are finished.

    This is our larger loaf and this is what the three smaller loaves of french bread look like. Enjoy.