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There is little in the world I like more than a warm slice of French Bread. This post is going to teach you how to make French Bread at home so you can enjoy it every time a craving hits. It’s the BEST one I’ve tried!!

I’m going to cover all the basics, from ingredients to process, and even how to get it nice and golden on top. You WILL be able to make your own French Bread when you’re done reading this!

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French bread loaf
Table of Contents
  1. The BEST French Bread is Homemade!
  2. How to make French Bread Recipe Video
  3. French Bread Ingredients
  4. How to make Homemade French Bread
  5. How to Score French Bread
  6. Why brush bread with egg wash?
  7. How to Store French Bread
  8. Can you Freeze French Bread?
  9. Homemade Bread FAQ
  10. Serve this French Bread with:
  11. Easy French Bread Recipe Recipe

The BEST French Bread is Homemade!

If I had to choose between dessert and bread and only eat one for the rest of my life, I’d have a huge struggle. Often, a nice thick slice of bread IS my dessert!

I’m an equal opportunity bread lover: I like sandwich bread, dinner rolls, wheat bread, sourdough, French bread…you name it I love it.

Sometimes you can’t get to the grocery store, or your store doesn’t have fresh loaves out, so it’s always nice to know how to make your own. Today I’m going to teach you how to make your own French Bread. It’s easier than you think – I promise!

How to make French Bread Recipe Video

Sliced french bread

Making homemade bread has a few steps, but it’s actually easier than you think. If you follow this tutorial you’re going to have success making your own bread every time.

Ingredients in French bread

French Bread Ingredients

All-purpose flour: The recipe calls for All-Purpose flour, and I always recommend using what the recipe calls for, but in a pinch you can substitute bread flour 1:1. The shape and consistency of the loaves might be different, but in a pinch you can sub it.

Rapid Rise (Instant) Yeast: My preferred yeast is Instant Yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast) because it cuts out half the rising time in bread recipes. Almost all yeast brands have an Instant Yeast, but they’re sold under different names (all will say “instant” somewhere on the package). If you can only find Active Dry Yeast, see the note in the recipe.

Salt: for flavor

Water: for binding

Oil: breads need fat to be moist and flavorful

An egg or egg white (for the egg wash)

How to make Homemade French Bread

We’re going to take this step by step:

ow to make french bread process photo

First, whisk 1 cup of flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer. (You can do this by hand too, it will just take longer.)

how to make french bread process photo

Heat your water to between 120°-130°F. You need it at that temperature to activate your yeast. How do you know the water temperature? I recommend using an instant read thermometer (this is my favorite) because it’ll tell you exactly when it’s hot. But if you don’t have one, think hot bath water.

Once the water is hot, add the olive oil, then add the wet ingredients into the dry. Using the dough hook, mix (while scraping the sides of the bowl) until all the wet ingredients are moistened.

how to make french bread process photo

You’ll then add 2 more cups of flour, mix with the dough hook until moistened, then add 2 more cups of flour, for a total of 5 cups.

Run the mixer until the dough comes together. It won’t form into a ball, but it will be only slightly tacky to the touch.

how to make french bread process photo

That is what the dough looks like when you’re done mixing.

Then, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

how to make french bread process photo

Knead the dough until it’s elastic and forms into a ball. You’ll know it’s done kneading when it springs back when you press it with two fingers.

At this point, the instant yeast does it’s job: it only has to rest for 10 minutes. Cover and let it rest while you clean up.

After 10 minutes, it’s time for form your loaves of bread.

ow to make french bread process photo

This recipe makes two loaves of crusty French Bread. After the 10 minutes resting time is up, divide the dough into two pieces.

Roll each out into a rectangle, then roll them up from the long side. Pinch the ends to form the loaf.

Place the loaves on your baking sheet and cover. Place in a warm area to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

how to make french bread process photo

After about 45 minutes, the loaves are nice and puffy. Now it’s time to prepare them for the oven.

how to make french bread process photo

How to Score French Bread

Use a sharp knife to cut shallow slits in the dough. You can also use a razor blade or a lame (the official name for a French bread scorer). Scoring the bread allows steam to release during baking, eliminating cracking and allowing for expansion.

how to make french bread process photo

Why brush bread with egg wash?

Egg wash gives the bread it’s golden color. You can also use the steam method (involving ice water in the oven) but that is more complicated and can cause oven problems if you’re not experienced. I find egg is easier.

Brush the loaves with egg wash. I used an egg white but if you want to use a whole egg, you can, just beat it first.

You’re going to bake the loaves for about 20-25 minutes, but if you want them nice and golden and crusty, make sure to re-brush them with egg-wash halfway through baking.

For a crusty golden loaf, do a second egg wash halfway through baking.

PRO TIP

Once they’re baked, they’re golden and warm and the BEST French Bread ever!!

How to Store French Bread

Store this in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 days. Because there are no preservatives in this bread it will get stale and go moldy after a couple of days.

Can you Freeze French Bread?

Yes! You can freeze the freshly baked loaf – just let it cool first then wrap it with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.

Homemade french bread

Look how crusty and golden this French bread recipe is! With the soft and flavorful center and the crusty outside, this bread is the perfect side dish or dessert. It’s a soft French bread recipe that you’re not going to be able to stop eating!

Homemade Bread FAQ

Can I half the recipe to make one loaf?

Yes you can – I’ve done that and it works just fine. You can also double it to make 4 loaves.

Can I use active dry yeast?

This recipe needs the instant yeast – any brand – and if you want to use active dry yeast you’ll need a different method/recipe. I haven’t tested this with active dry as of this writing.

Can I make French bread without a mixer?

You can definitely make this by hand, just know you’ll need to knead it longer to get it smooth and elastic.

Serve this French Bread with:

Other favorite yeast recipes:

Have you made this recipe?

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French bread loaf

Easy French Bread Recipe

4.78 from 9 votes
This is the BEST Homemade French Bread recipe! It makes two loaves of crusty and soft french bread and is the perfect side dish for any meal.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rise Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Yield 20 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
  

  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups (558-620g) all-purpose flour divided
  • 2 packets Fleischman’s Yeast Rapid Rise Yeast or any instant yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (237ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg white

Instructions

  • Add 1 cup of flour to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add yeast and salt and whisk to combine.
  • Place water in a heat-proof measuring cup. Heat for about one minute (maybe longer, it depends on your microwave) until water is between 120°-130°F. It’s best to check this with an instant-read thermometer, but if you don’t have one, think hot bath water. Add oil to water, then pour into dry ingredients.
  • Run mixer with dough hook, scraping the sides of the bowl, just until the flour is all moistened. Add 2 more cups of flour, mix, then add an another 1 1/2 cups of flour and let the mixer run until the dough is thick and starts to come together, adding an additional 1/2 cup flour as needed. It won’t form a ball but will only be slightly sticky to the touch.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough forms a ball and is elastic and springs back when pressed with two fingers; cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into an approximate 12×15-inch rectangle (no need to be exact) and roll it up from the long side. Pinch the ends to form the pointy ends of the loaf.
  • Place loaves on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cover and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Uncover loaves and use a sharp knife to score 4-5 times on top to create the French bread look. Brush the dough lightly with egg wash.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the loaves are golden and hard and sound hollow if knocked on. To make a browner and crunchier crust, as shown in the photos, do a second brushing with egg white after 15 minutes of baking.
  • Cool slightly before serving, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from BreadWorld.com, where they used active dry yeast. If you have only active dry yeast, do the following:
Place water in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add oil, salt and enough flour to make a soft dough, mixing with the dough hook.  Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic, about six to eight minutes.  Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover; let rise in warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Punch dough down.  On floured surface, divide dough in half; roll to 15×10-inch ovals.  Roll up from long ends to make loaves.  Pinch seams and ends to seal; taper ends. Cover; let rise in warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Bake as directed.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword bread, yeast
Easy french bread

French Bread is a crusty bread that can be used as a dinner side dish or to make French bread pizza or garlic bread! And making it from scratch is easier than you think – I have a full photo tutorial and tips in the post on how to make this bread!

Last Updated on May 4, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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22 Comments

  1. I’m making the assumption that you have 2% salt in your bread formula (12g +/- depending on flour) is that correct? Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Dorothy you rock! Just made a loaf using your recipe, added some pate fermente that i had for a little extra flavor, the crumb, chew, and appearance was as good as any store bought French bread. Thank you for a perfect and easy recipe and I enjoyed watching your video.

  3. I do not have a large mixer with a dough hook. I have an old model food processor which I use to make pizza crust. It holds 4 cups, tops. Would I be able to make half of the recipe and make only one loaf? Thank you in advance.