French Country Loaf

21 April 2013

Welcome spring with the fragrance of freshly baked French loaves. You will never want to have store bought bread after you have baked this fluffy and light bread.

Dear readers, you are welcome to a new and improved blog! My apologizes for taking so long to construct this blog. A lot of factors made this blog hang in the middle for so long, which is sad. Time has really flied away and spring is again around the corner spreading light and sunshine to the gray and cold days. I can't believe it is about three quarters of a year since I blogged my last recipe on this delicious Lemon Curd. I will make no promises, but I will try to update my blog more often and fill it up with some delicious and mouthwatering recipes. So you should look forward to some yummilicious baking. And if you have not noticed yet, this blog has changed name from Crème et Cannelle to Sweet Macaron.

This time I want you to feel the smell of homemade loaf right out from the oven. Is not the freshly baked bread spreading amazing fragrance and love into your home? There is not much to be compared with a slice of freshly baked bread with a dollop of butter melting like honey on the warm bread. Now, that is what I call the taste of love.

I love to make things self. I am more of a DIY person, and as far as it is possible, I try to make everything from scratch. There is nothing that can be compared with the feeling that you get when you know that this is something you have put your love and effort in making, but sadly not everyone understand that. Baking bread at home is not difficult or time consuming as some people may think. Rather, it is so easy and the bread almost makes itself. Make the dough, let it rise, shape it and let it rise again for then to be put in oven for baking. And it tastes a thousand times better than any store-bought bread.

I remember the amazingly soft French land loaf topped with poppy seeds that we used to buy from Sweden many years ago. I think that was the best loaf I have ever had in my life from the store. The loaf was so light as feather and the texture was like soft wool. I don't know if they stopped the production or what, but it is no longer to be found. I really miss that loaf. And that may be one of the reasons why I have tried to search for French loaves on Google which resembles that one loaf, but it has not been easy. However, I found recipes for French loaf in a Swedish baking book; one for loaf with hard crust and the other one for loaf with soft crust. I tried to bake the French loaf with soft crust and it turned out to be great. It was not exactly as the one loaf I remember, but it was delicious and light in texture. Usually we buy bread at the store, but when everyone tasted this loaf, they asked for more and realized how dull and plain store bought loaf actually is.


This is my second attempt on the French loaf with soft crust. First time I made it without using any bread tin and the loaves raised on the flat side, but they were amazingly soft and delicious. The second time I let them raise in bread tins and they raised beautifully high.

So let's welcome the spring with the fragrance of freshly baked bread!

Makes 2 large breads

I n g r e d i e n t s

50 g yeast
50 g margarine/butter
5 dl milk
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
ca. 10 - 14 dl all-purpose flour

You can either make this bread by machine or by hands

Grease two oblong bread tins about 25 x 10 cm

1. Crumble the yeast into a mixing bowl (if you are using dry yeast as I did, then mix it with the flour and set aside - follow rest of the instrcutions as described apart from #3)
2. Melt the fat, add in the milk and heat until the mixture reaches 37 C
3. Add a little of the fat/milk mixture into the yeast and stir to dissolve it
4. Add the remaining fat/milk mixture, salt, sugar and most of the flour (do not put all flour in once, add little by little until you have a very soft and sticky dough - sometimes you need far less than what the recipe requires) Keep aside 1-2 dl of the flour for later use)
5. Work the dough vigrously until it is smooth and release from the bowl (knead about 10 min if using hands, 7 min if using machine)

Sprinkle a thin layer of flour on the dough and let it raise under a baking cloth or wrap it in a plastic bag for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size (it may take up to 1 hour depending on where you have placed it to raise)

(Click on the image for larger view)

6. Knead the dough on lightly floured surface until it is smooth and not sticky (add a little more flour as needed)
7. Divide the dough in 2 or 3 parts
8. Divide each dough in two halves and roll them to about 30 cm long sausages
9. Pinch the edges of the two sausages and twist them over each other and pinch the edges to seal the sausages
10. Repeat with the remaining dough
11. Have the twisted breads into the prepared bread tins
12. Cover with a baking cloth and let raise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size
13. Brush lightly with some milk if you want to add poppy seeds

Bake the breads on the lowest slot in a preheated oven at 200 C for about 25 - 30 minutes or until they are golden brown in color and there is a hollow sound when you tap on the bread

Brush the baked loaves with some milk and let them cool covered with a baking cloth on rist

STORAGE: In the bread box or in a plastic bag for about 1 week. In the freezer for about 6-9 months

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” - M.F.K. Fischer

Freshly cut loaf..


ready to be enjoyed!




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