The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sweet french bread

punkchef77's picture

sweet french bread

So this is my first post on this site. First I just want to say this site and all the members of the community are awesome. I am a school trained pastry chef and things have changed quite a bit sense I was last in the industry. Things like stretch and folds and autolysing were not used a decade ago when I was in school or in a commercial kitchen. This site has brought me up to date on quite a few things and for that I am thankful.

So on to my bread. I live in Sonoma County CA and also have lived in San Francisco. Growing up in the North Bay I have been very fortunate to have great bread everywhere. There are several great boulangeries in the area that produce what they call a sweet french bread. Being school trained I know that such a thing might be misnamed (and in France might get you some stern talking too). Normally french bread is a basic four bread ie flour,water,salt and yeast and sometimes starter. The bread in particular I am trying to re create also contains malt and shortening listed as ingredients. So in following with two of my favorite boulangeries I am also going to call this sweet french bread (all my chefs are probably going to yell at me for this lol). 



Note-I know I am going to catch flack for this but all my measurements are in volume (my scale is busted and I'm kinda broke)

Also I am super lucky to have Keith Giusto baking supply within 10 minutes of my house. Centeral Milling flour is awesome and if you have a Costco in your area I suggest picking up some of the organic APF. Its the same as the Bee Hive lightly malted organic APF and about half the cost.


1-1/2 c High mountian (bread flour 14%)

1/4 tsp Instant yeast.

1/2 tsp Diastatic malt

1 c cool water

Mix the above and let it do its thing for at least 4 hours 

Main dough

All of the sponge

1-1/2 c High mountian

2 tsp Shortening (melted and sloghtly cooled)

2 tsp Non Diastatic malt

1-1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

Mix all but the salt yeast and salt autolyse for 30min.

Add salt and yeast knead for 7-8 min speed 2 on KA

Let retard overnight in the fridge.

Shape into baguettes let proof in a couche then bake at 525F with steam for the first 10 min then lower the oven to 450F for about 15 more minutes.

I will post photos ASAP.







noonesperfect's picture

Acme Breads in the Bay Area uses the term "sweet" to denote a batard or baguette made using commercial yeast, as opposed to "sour" that uses a sourdough starter.  I don't believe there is sugar or other sweetener in the bread.  It is still made with just the usual four basic ingredients.

punkchef77's picture

Both Basque Boulangerie and Costeaux use malt and shortening in there bread labeled sweet french bread (also Franco American and a few others do too).  Funny how one bakery will call a basic baguette sweet and another one will add a bunch of extras and call it the same thing

Also Acme makes some damn fine bread. I bought it all the time when I lived in SF.



clazar123's picture

All my sourdough bread is "sweet".  I don't like a sour-tasting bread (except when I am in San Fran and there is chowder in the sourdough bread bowl). Most people are surprised to know I make my bread with natural levain (sourdough).

 The starter can be called "starter" or "sourdough" but I like "natural levain". but then what do we call a bread made with that besides delicious? Do we call it sourdough and sourdough bead? To avoid the discussion on confusing terms, I just call it handmade bread.

punkchef77's picture

Ya it is funny. When I was in school if the bread was left to proof too long my chef would have us toss it, someone asked "can't we just make extra sourdough bread" the reply from chef was NO. In France such things are frowned upon. But here in the states people like extra sour. 

I also am a fan of "sweet" bread and use some  form of starter in most of my artisan loaves. I fully agree there is too much terminology to get caught up on. 

I hope you do not mind if I steal the term "handmade bread" from you.