Drizzle with olive oil and break out the wine. 

rustic french baguettes with basil and herbes de provence

Rustic French Bread with Basil and Herbes de Provence
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and break out the wine.
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1½ cups warm water (between 105-110 degrees)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus ½ cup, reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Olive oil (to prepare bowl)
  1. Place the warm water and maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a regular metal bowl if not using a mixer), and sprinkle the packet of yeast on top. Let stand until yeast gets foamy (about 5 minutes or so).
  2. In a another bowl, whisk together the flour, sea salt, basil, and herbes de Provence.
  3. Using the stand mixer on medium speed with its dough-hook attachment, begin to add the 4 cups of flour slowly to the proofed yeast mixture. (If mixing by hand, use a spoon to stir flour slowly into the yeast mixture.) Once the 4 cups of four have been mixed in, add a bit more from the reserved ½ cup of flour -- the dough should be stiff.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Slowly continue to add from the reserved ½ cup of flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the work surface (it's not necessary to use all of the reserved flour). Knead with floured hands until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes).
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the entire ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise for 90 minutes (it should nearly double in size).
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Gently punch the dough down to deflate it a bit, cut it in half, and shape it into two baguettes. Dust the tops of each baguette lightly with flour and place on a parchment-paper-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Let rise for another 30 minutes, uncovered.
  8. With a sharp or serrated knife, cut several small diagonal slits across the tops of each baguette. Mist each loaf with water (or sprinkle a few drops on top).
  9. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool a bit, and eat it while it's warm!


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