Bread Essentials: French Petits Pains

Andy Anderson !


If you are new to baking, this is an excellent recipe to get you underway. As you can see there are a minimum of ingredients to deal with, and all you really need is time… and a bit of patience.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

4 Hr
20 Min



  • 7 oz
    warm water, 95 – 105f (35 – 40c)
  • 1/4 tsp
    sugar, granulated variety
  • 2 tsp
    active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, fine grind
  • 2 c
    flour, all-purpose variety

How to Make Bread Essentials: French Petits Pains


  2. A lot of folks fuss over the making of dough, but in reality, it is just about practice. Eventually you will have a “feel” for when the dough is ready. With a bit of time, practice, and patience, you can bake like the pros.
    If you are getting into baking, here are a few things I think are essential to making the process go smoother.
  4. Bench Scraper or Pastry Scraper: If you work a lot with dough, you will consider this one of your best friends. It is just a piece of metal with dull edges, usually square, with a wooden or plastic handle on one end. It is used to “scrape” the dough off the board when you are kneading it; especially if it is a wet dough.
    Another great use is for moving things like chopped veggies from one place to another. For example, you just chopped up a mess of carrots, and you need to move them from the cutting board to the stew pot. Just push them up onto the scraper, and dump them into the stew. It is a great versatile tool, with numerous applications.
    The one that I use (pictured) is a LamsonSharp Pro. It has a width of 6-inches (15.5cm), and a depth, up to the handle, of 4-inches (10cm). When I am cooking, it is never far from my side. You can purchase larger sizes; however, in all my time in the kitchen, I have never felt I needed anything larger.
  5. Stand Mixer: Stand mixers are useful for many more things than working with dough; however, they are a nice tool to for every chef to own. The one pictures is one of the best… KitchenAid Pro. I have two, and this particular one has been hanging about my test kitchen for about a dozen or so years (time flies). I have never had a problem with any KitchenAid mixer that I have purchase, and have been quite a few. They have many diverse models, and colors to choose from. If you are in the market for one, KitchenAid would be my top endorsement.
  6. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  7. Add the flour and salt to the bowl of your stand mixer, then whisk to combine.
  8. Whisk the sugar into the warm water, until dissolved, then sprinkle the yeast on top.
  9. Chef’s Note: We are “proofing” the yeast. If, after 5 minutes, the top of the water does not turn foamy, your yeast is dead. Give it a proper burial, get some fresh yeast, and try again.
  10. Place the bowl into your stand mixer, add the dough hook, turn on low, and add the yeast water.
  11. Allow to mix, until it is smooth, pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and begins climbing up the hook.
  12. Chef’s Note: Here is how it should look… the sides of the bowl are clean, and it is climbing up the dough hook. If the dough is too sticky, then add more flour, about a teaspoon or two at a time, if it is too dry, add a bit of warm water, a teaspoon or two at a time. The process is fairly straight forward, but it is experience that will eventually be your best teacher.
  13. Chef’s Note: If you are kneading the dough by hand, the process is the same; except it will take longer, and you are using your hands… Not a dough hook.
  14. When the dough is ready, sprinkle a clean/dry surface with a bit of flour.
  15. Place the dough on the flour, and sprinkle a bit more flour on top.
  16. Knead the dough until smooth and silky, using the palm of your hand.
  17. Chef’s Tip: We want a soft dough. It should be sticky, but not enough to stick to your hands. Alternate between flour and water, until you get the perfect dough. Again, practice is the best teacher.
  18. Place a bit of oil into the stand mixer, add the dough, and turn over so that it is covered with the oil.
  19. Cover with a kitchen towel, and place in a warm corner of your kitchen until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  20. Remove the towel, punch the dough down, cover, and allow to rise again until doubled, about an additional hour.
  21. Remove from the bowl, and knead a few times on a lightly-floured surface until smooth.
  22. Use your bench scraper to cut it into 4 equal pieces, then allow to rise for an additional hour.
  23. Roll them into loaf shapes, and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes.
  24. While they are doing the final rise, place a rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 400f (205c).
  25. Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.
  26. Chef’s Tip: If you lightly spritz the dough with water, once or twice during the baking process, it will give you a nice crispy crust.
  27. Chef’s Tip: If you are having trouble getting your yeast to proof, it might not be the yeast… it might be your water. Some city waters are so heavily chlorinated that they kill the yeast. You might have to go to filtered, or bottled water.
  29. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before cutting. Then, use any which way you can. A nice sandwich comes to mind. Enjoy.
  30. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Bread Essentials: French Petits Pains

Course/Dish: Savory Breads
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: French

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