French Rolls
  • 2½ cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir sugar into warm water and then stir in the yeast. Let sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add 5 cups flour and the salt and beat with electric mixer, using paddles, for 5 minutes.
  3. If you prefer to knead by hand, put the remaining cup of flour on the board and knead for 7-8 minutes. If you have a sturdy stand mixer and prefer to let the machine do the hard work, switch to your dough hook, add the remaining cup of flour, and let it knead for 5 minutes. Your finished dough should be smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough into a large greased bowl. Turn to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled. Depending on room temperature, this could take anywhere from 1-3 hours. (A slow rise makes more flavorful bread, so don't rush it!)
  5. Punch down the dough, turn it over, and let it rise again until doubled, about 1½ hours.
  6. Punch down the dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 16 pieces.
  7. Sprinkle cornmeal generously on two baking sheets.
  8. Shape each piece into a ball or oblong and place on prepared baking sheets, at least an inch apart (2 inches is better.) Cover lightly with a clean dishtowel and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  9. While the rolls are rising, place a large pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven, and preheat to 450 F.
  10. When the rolls have risen, dust them with flour and, with a very sharp knife or razor blade, cut a ¼" deep line down the middle of each oblong roll, or an "x" on round rolls.
  11. Carefully (it will be HOT) open the oven door and quickly put the rolls in, trying to let as little steam escape as possible.
  12. Bake until light brown, about 20-25 minutes, and cool on a rack. Listen to them crackle!
Recipe by The Rowdy Baker at