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Supermarket-style French Bread Recipe

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Hi,

I am in search for a recipe that would replicate/or is similar to the type of "french" bread that can be found at supermarket bakeries (Safeway, Raley's). I have tried Reinhart's french bread, Joy of baking, and another recipe that I have found in an old recipe pamphlet, but they have all tasted too artisan. I know, I know, this is what I should want from bread, and I love it, but I want to also be able to make the soft crust, fluffy soft, somewhat-tight crumb interior too. It is what my family is used to and they are stubborn. It was sad seeing my delicious, crusty sourdough baguettes being overlooked by Safeway french bread during a family gathering. I admit, I do enjoy a supermarket loaf every now and then.

I bake on a cookie sheet (not baking stone) and avoided creating steam to keep a soft crust, but how do I get the interior the type of fluffy softness that supermaket breads have? I was thinking, maybe milk?

I know I may get jeers from wanting to create a somewhat manufactured taste at home, but I am surprise that I can't seem to achieve it. Maybe this means I should look more into hydration and baker's math and such. I'll get there soon enough. I would love any advice or help I can get! Thanks in advance.

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  1. IMO, as good as it gets.

    1. Interesting. I'd try the opposite of Reinhart's techniques, less rise time, no sponge, lower temperature baking, no spritzing with water, ap flour instead of bread flour. You could add some ascorbic acid or vinegar to help the bread rise more quickly. It's the long slow rise that gives artisan bread its texture so making it rise quickly would reduce that, as would using regular AP flour. Maybe along the lines of this recipe:

      http://www.suite101.com/content/frenc...

      But, don't spray the loaf and bake at 350 instead, until internal temperature is 200-210.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser

        Chowser,

        Thank you for this infomation. I admit, I follow bread recipes blindly because past successes and this was very enlightening. I'll attempt this today and see how it goes. I saw some recipes on allrecipes and they had even shorter rise time. I will most likely attempt those too.

      2. I think it's impossible to replicate grocery store bread at home because of the added conditioners and chemicals that home cooks don't have access to, however, this recipe for Italian Supermarket Bread from King Arthur Flour might give you a close approximation.
        http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

        3 Replies
        1. re: toveggiegirl

          I was just thinking that an "Italian" style recipe would do the trick. There's an Italian feather bread recipe in Beard on Bread that's somewhat along those lines (but tastes great).

          1. re: buttertart

            It seems like grocery stores just repackage the same bread and call it different things anyway--a little wider, call it Italian, narrow, call it french, square it up, call it Ciabatta.

            1. re: chowser

              Yup, my local grocer store sells the same loaf as Italian and French. The only difference is that the Italian loaf has one long score through the top of the loaf while the French has a few diagonal scores. For some reason, this is enough to merit 2 different names.

        2. I'd give serious consideration to just making a soft white bread dough, then baking it in the form of a baguette...seems that's what an awful lot of supermarket bakeries do.

          1. If they like the supermarket bread, why go to the trouble of making it by hand? It's not like they're going to appreciate it. Make your wonderful bread for people who understand the trouble you went to--life is too short to waste your time trying to please the unpleaseable. Have a good holiday.

            1 Reply
            1. re: escondido123

              I love my family and try hard to please them as much as I can. But what it really is, is the challenge in replicating something that seems like it should be way easier than a sourdough baguette or ciabatta. Sometimes, my mind gets wrapped up in silly experiments like this, and in the process, I also get to learn more about the "why"s in how baked products turn out the way they do. I actually have fun when I get into such a mode!

              But, yes, it is disheartening when I labor over something delicious only to get rejected :(

            2. I just got a Sassafras Superstone 14.5" Covered Baker and made my usual French bread recipe in it. My family said it is exactly like a loaf of supermarket French bread sold in the open ended paper bags. Light, crisp crust, white, soft interior with a tight crumb. Here's the recipe and technique I used. The sourdough starter is used like an "old dough" and adds flavor, but not sour to the loaf. If sour were desired, a longer rise in the fridge would be required.
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              Supermarket French Bread in Covered Baker
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              Makes one 2-lb loaf. (I used a Sassafras Superstone 14.5" Covered Baker).
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              1 1/3 cups - 10.6 oz (300 g) Warm Water
              3/4 cup - 7 oz (200 g) Sourdough Starter - 100% hydration, cold from the fridge
              2 teaspoons - 0.28 oz (8 g) White Granulated Sugar
              2 teaspoons - 0.43 oz (12 g) Table Salt
              2 1/4 teaspoons - 0.25 oz (7 g) Instant Yeast, or 1 packet
              4 cups - 17 oz (480 g) All Purpose Flour and Bread Flour (2 cups of each)
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              Attach bowl and whisk attachment to Kitchen-aid mixer.
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              Add water to mixing bowl.
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              Weigh out starter and add to water in mixer bowl.
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              Dissolve yeast in water in mixer bowl. Add salt, and sugar.
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              Mix on Speed 2 for 1 or 2 minutes.
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              Remove whisk attachment and add dough hook to mixer.
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              Add flour to mixer bowl. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 1 minute, or until well blended.
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              Knead on Speed 2 about 4 minutes longer. Dough will be slightly sticky.
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              Remove from bowl, form dough into a ball and allow to rest 10 minutes.
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              Perform stretch and fold on dough. Form a ball. Cover and allow to rest 10 minutes.
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              Perform another stretch and fold on dough.
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              Coat inside of covered baker (inside top and inside bottom) with cooking oil. Sprinkle bottom with cornmeal.
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              Form dough into long loaf, place in covered baker and spray with cooking oil.
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              Cover. Let rise in warm place, like an off oven, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
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              With sharp knife, make 3 diagonal cuts on top of loaf, 1/4" deep. Replace lid. Place in oven.
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              Start in a cold oven. Set temperature at 425°F and bake, covered, for 40 minutes.
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              Remove covered baker lid. Bake, uncovered, 10 more minutes (for a total of 50 minutes) or until golden brown and center of loaf reaches 205°F.
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              Remove from oven, remove loaf from covered baker and allow to cool.
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