Everyone needs a good and easy French bread recipe in their recipe index. It’s a simple, delicious, and filling recipe that fits neatly in any budget.
Any time I want to win Mom of the Year, I whip out this simple French bread recipe. My kids go absolutely nuts over it.
One of my favorite things about homemade French bread is that we always have the ingredients on hand and even though fresh baked bread feels like a real treat, it’s super inexpensive to make. Try serving your fresh bread with whipped butter or our easy apple butter recipe! Or make it into a delicious Italian beef sandwiches!
French Bread Recipe
French Bread Recipe Ingredients
- Active dry yeast – Usually found near the flour at the grocery store.
- Warm water – Water temperature is important in this recipe. Warm water will help the yeast develop, but hot or cold can inhibit the blooming.
- Sugar – Sugar helps the yeast as well.
- Olive oil – I like a good full bodied olive oil for this recipe.
- Salt – Don’t skip the salt, it helps enhance the flavors.
- All-purpose flour – Make sure you’re getting all purpose flour and not cake flour or self rising flour.
- Cornmeal – The cornmeal does not get incorporated into the actual recipe, but it is used to keep the bread from sticking to the surface of the pan and it is what gives the bread its distinct rough texture on the bottom.
- Egg white – Used to give extra crunch and browning on the surface of the bread.
How Do You Make French Bread?
⭐ First, in a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let it sit and bloom. Add sugar, oil, salt, flour, and beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
⭐Then, turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
⭐Next, punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise. Punch dough down, again. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loafs.
⭐Then, sprinkle a parchment lined baking sheet with cornmeal; place loafs on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled.
⭐Finally, beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes across top of loaf. Bake until golden brown and remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
Frequently asked questions
Is a baguette and French bread the same?
You can make a baguette from French bread dough, but not all French bread is a baguette. A baguette is s a long, thin loaf of French bread. You can tell a baguette by its length and crisp.
We tend to make our French bread in wide loaves so sandwich prep is easier, but you could make yours long and thin if you’d like!
What’s the difference between Italian and French bread?
According to French law, French bread cannot have added oil or fat. Italian bread however, will often include milk, olive oil, and sugar.
In the United States, we tend to take some liberties with what we put in our “French bread” recipes.
Is French bread good or bad for you?
This all depends on what diet you follow – in our home French bread is a treat as it doesn’t have any significant nutritional value.
It’s also really easy to indulge in something as yummy as fresh French bread – portion size is key!
What is French Bread Made Of?
There are really only four main components to a French bread recipe – flour, water, salt, and yeast. The key is in getting the proportions right and letting it rise properly.
It doesn’t take a lot of skill to make French bread, but it does take patience.
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More Bread Recipes
- No Knead Beer Bread – This no-knead beer bread is simple to make and super delicious. We like to use it for bread bowls when we make cheeseburger soup!
- Easy Skillet Cornbread – This cornbread is made with corn kernels, heavy cream, and bacon. If you’re asking someone for forgiveness, bring this.
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – Literally one of my favorite recipes ever. This chocolate chip banana bread is decadent and amazing and you will tell your husband it all went to the neighbors (when it’s actually hiding so you don’t have to share).
- Apple Walnut Fritter Bread – This is a delicious breakfast style bread, perfect for brunch with friends! We like to serve it warm with a pat of salted butter.
- Classic Zucchini Bread – I love when I can pretend bread is healthy. It’s got vegetables! I can eat more! Mmmmmm.
- Restaurant Style Cornbread – Ever wonder why restaurant corn bread is so addicting? Well we’ve got the answer for you with our Restaurant Style Cornbread recipe!
- See all our bread recipes!
- Adore Amore Bread Proofing Basket – If you’re going to proof bread, you may as well do it in style, right?! This bread basket also makes a perfect round artisan shaped loaf!
- Linen Proofing Cloth – There’s nothing worse than using a dish towel to proof and then having to pull little fuzzies off the top of your risen bread. Avoid that nonsense with this linen proofing cloth.
- Ateco Bowl Scraper – I feel like it’s our ethical obligation to make sure we’re getting every last bit of dough out of the bowl. Because bread is delicious.
- Kitchenaid 5 Quart Stand Mixer – If you make bread regularly, you’ll definitely want to invest in a good stand mixer! We love our Kitchenaid! Grab a dough hook and you’re off to the races.
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How to Make French Bread
French Bread Recipe
- 1 .25 ounce package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour and beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (I like to put mine in the oven with the light on).
- Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loafs.
- Sprinkle a parchment lined baking sheet with cornmeal; place loafs on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
- Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
With all these soup recipes lately, it seems timely that we should have a good crusty French bread recipe too. There’s arguably nothing better than dipping fresh bread into good soup. Wedding days, and children’s births, notwithstanding.
I feel like a pioneer and also weirdly accomplished whenever I make this recipe. It’s incredibly satisfying to create something delicious and seemingly complex with so few ingredients.
This French bread makes delicious sandwich bread, but honesty, we usually just end up slathering it with butter and eating it all while the bread is still warm.
When I’ve got my wits about me, I’ll make a double or triple batch and freeze the extras for another time. I have to get them hidden quickly though or it will all disappear!
You could also freeze the dough before baking it, but I find it easier to bake all the French bread dough and freeze it after it’s done. Then you just have to set it on the counter to thaw before using.
originally published 11-2008