Artisan French Bread

by: Chef Matt Chatfield

Compatible Wolf Appliances:


This artisan French bread requires no kneading but must be prepared at least one day in advance. The hydration of the gluten within the flour develops overnight to provide a chewy and flavorful loaf of French bread.

Prep Time
Cook Time


Auto Steam Bake

Rack Position

Solid Pan
Position - 2


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 2 pounds (6 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 cups room temperature water


In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add in 3 cups of room temperature water and gently stir until uniformly moist with no dry patches. Use your hands if a more even mixing is needed. Squish the dough together with your hands to incorporate all the dry patches, but do not knead. Spray the inside of a 1½ gallon storage container or mixing bowl with non-stick spray. The dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to the container. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, but not airtight.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to 4 hours. After the initial rise, place the dough in the refrigerator. Rest the dough in the refrigerator overnight. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before baking. Refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough.

If making more than one loaf, divide the dough equally to ensure an equal baking time. To split the dough, sprinkle a little flour on your hands and dough. Pull the dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a piece. One full loaf, not divided, will be approximately 1 and a half pounds. To make a rounded Boule loaf, work for 30 to 45 seconds. Add flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Most dusting flour will fall off, which is okay because it is not intended to be incorporated into the dough. Cup and turn the dough in your hands, gently stretching the surface of the dough. Rotate the ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Sprinkle some extra flour all over the top of the shaped loaf to protect the dough from crusting. Place the shaped dough in a proofing basket or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the Wolf Legacy Convection Steam Oven on Proof Mode at 90°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the dough is ready, it should feel like a balloon with air trapped inside.

Roll out the dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, slash the top of the dough with 1/4” deep cuts in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Don’t cut too deep. This small cut will expand 4-6 times its size when baked.

Place the baking pan in rack position 2 of the Wolf Legacy Convection Steam Oven. Press Auto Steam Bake Mode in the More Settings and choose Bread. Set the temperature from 410°F to 440°F, depending on the preferred darkness of the crust. Set the duration to 35 minutes. Push Start and the oven will bake the loaf perfectly. Halfway through baking, rotate the loaf 180° so the back corners of the loaf don’t over-brown.

When the bread finishes baking, remove the loaf from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let cool completely for 1-2 hours. Cutting into the loaf right out of the oven will create a gummy texture that is less desirable than perfectly fluffy bread. Letting the loaf rest will produce a perfect texture and is well worth the wait.

Variation: Jalapeno Cheddar Loaves

Add 1/4 cup of fresh, roasted jalapeños and 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar to the dough during mixing.

Variation: Rosemary Olive Oil Loaves

Add 2-3 tablespoons of coarsely chopped fresh rosemary and ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil during the mixing process.