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    Simple French Bread Recipe

    Published February 22, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This delicious, easy-to-make French Bread Recipe is light and fluffy inside with a beautiful golden outside crust. You will love the flavors in this homemade bread recipe.

    Baking bread is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying procedures that you can do. If you are looking for more tasty bread recipes, try my Banana Bread or Homemade Bagel Recipe.

    French bread


     

    French Bread

    French bread is a light crusty, yeast-raised bread made with water, flour, and yeast. This comes in many shapes and sizes, including the classic baguette, rounds, and ovals. While this recipe has quicker proof times and uses commercial yeast, the flavors are still outstanding.  

    This bread is fantastic served with butter or used as the bread in a Steak Sandwich. It can be sliced longways, on a bias, or in thin slices. Once you make and it this easy French bread recipe, there’s no reason even to buy it premade again.  

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    Ingredients to make French Bread
    • Flour – You will need to use bread flour for this recipe. It has a higher protein and will make better bread.
    • Water – Regular old tap water heated to 112° to 115°.
    • Yeast – You can use active or instant yeast in this recipe.
    • Butter – Always use unsalted butter in your cooking and baking.
    • Salt – I always use sea salt in my cooking and baking.
    • Sugar – Some granulated sugar is used for feeding the yeast.

    How to Make French Bread from Scratch

    Add ½ of the water to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the sugar and yeast.

    adding yeast to a bowl

    Whisk until combined, then let it stand for 5 to 7 minutes.

    whisking yeast with water

    A raft should form on the top if you use active yeast. If you are using instant yeast, then there is no need to wait for the raft.

    forming a raft in a bowl

    Add in the rest of the water, salt, and flour.

    adding flour to yeast

    Knead with a stand mixer using the dough hook for 8 to 10 minutes. It’s ok if the dough seems a little sticky.

    kneading dough

    Remove the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm place for 90 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.

    covering dough in plastic

    Take off the plastic, and punch down the dough to its original size. If it’s stuck, dust it with some flour.

    removing dough from a bowl

    Knead the dough on a clean, floured surface for 1 to 2 minutes.

    kneading dough

    Form the dough into a large ball by cupping around the dough into the bottom.

    forming dough into a bowl

    Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. If you want larger thicker French bread, cut it into 3 equal parts.

    cutting dough

    Press down 1 of the doughs until it forms the shape of an oval.

    rolling dough

    Fold the dough up by 1/3.

    folding dough

    Fold it up again by 1/3 meeting at the seam.

    folding dough into thirds

    Pinch the seams with your fingertips until they are shut.

    pinching dough seams

    Roll the dough out until it is roughly 12 to 16 inches long and tapered at the ends.

    rolling out dough

    Place it on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and cover it with plastic wrap. Proof for 60 minutes in a warm place.

    resting dough

    Preheat the oven to 425° and place a pan filled with water on the bottom rack. This will help create moisture in the oven and provide a nice golden brown crust on your bread.

    adding a pan of water to an over

    Remove the plastic and cut 3 slices on a bias using a sharp knife or razor.  You can spray or brush the tops with water for an extra crisp crust.

    scoring bread

    Bake in the oven on the middle rack at 425° for 22 to 25 minutes or until browned on top and cooked through.

    baking french bread

    Cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

    fresh baked french bread

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this French bread up to 1 day ahead of time.

    How to Store: Cover and keep at room temperature for three days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze this loaf of bread for up to 6 months. Thaw it at room temperature until thawed before slicing and serving.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • You can substitute the butter with olive oil.
    • A trick to help proof the dough is to add the bowl while resting in a slightly cracked oven with only the oven light on. It creates the perfect moist temperature environment for proofing.
    • Adding a pan of water to the oven will help create moisture and provide a nice golden brown crust on your bread.
    • No need for a rolling pin in this recipe.
    • The bread should be light and fluffy inside with a beautiful hard crust on the outside.
    • After the French bread has been formed and is on the sheet pan with parchment paper, feel free to spray one side of the plastic wrap with non-stick spray and place that sprayed side down over the dough when proofing to help it not stick when removing it.

    More Bread Recipes

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Simple French Bread Recipe

    5 from 16 votes
    This delicious, easy-to-make French Bread Recipe is light and fluffy inside with a beautiful golden outside crust.
    Servings: 8
    Prep Time: 25 minutes
    Cook Time: 25 minutes
    Proofing time: 2 hours 30 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 2 ¼ cup warm water, 112° to 115°
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 packet active yeast
    • 2 teaspoons sea salt
    • 2 teaspoons softened unsalted butter
    • 5 cups bread flour

    Instructions

    • Add ½ of the water to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the sugar and yeast.
    • Whisk until combined, and then let it stand for 5 to 7 minutes.
    • If you are using active yeast, a raft should form on the top. If you are using instant yeast, then there is no need to wait for the raft.
    • Add in the rest of the water, salt, butter, and flour.
    • Knead with a stand mixer using the dough hook for 8 to 10 minutes. It’s ok if the dough seems a little sticky.
    • Remove the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm place for 90 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.
    • Take off the plastic, and punch down the dough to its original size. If it’s stuck, dust it with some flour.
    • Knead the dough on a clean, floured surface for 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Form the dough into a large ball by cupping around the dough into the bottom.
    • Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. If you want larger thicker French bread, cut it into 3 equal parts.
    • Press down 1 of the doughs until it forms the shape of an oval.
    • Fold the dough up by 1/3.
    • Fold it up again by 1/3 meeting at the seam.
    • Pinch the seams with your fingertips until they are shut.
    • Roll the dough out until it is roughly 12 to 16 inches long and tapered at the ends.
    • Place it on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and cover it with plastic wrap.
    • Proof for 60 minutes in a warm place.
    • Preheat the oven to 425° and place a pan filled with water on the bottom rack
    • Remove the plastic and cut 3 long slices on a bias using a sharp knife or razor. For an extra crisp crust, you can spray or brush the tops with water.
    • Bake in the oven on the middle rack at 425° for 22 to 25 minutes or until browned on top and cooked through.
    • Cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make this French bread up to 1 day ahead of time.
    How to Store: Cover and keep at room temperature for three days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze this loaf of bread for up to 6 months. Thaw it at room temperature until thawed before slicing and serving.
    You can substitute the butter with olive oil.
    A trick to help proof the dough is to add the bowl while resting in a slightly cracked oven with only the oven light on. It creates the perfect moist temperature environment for proofing.
    Adding a pan of water to the oven will help create moisture and provide a nice golden brown crust on your bread.
    No need for a rolling pin in this recipe.
    The bread should be light and fluffy inside with a beautiful hard crust on the outside.
    After the French bread has been formed and is on the sheet pan with parchment paper, feel free to spray one side of the plastic wrap with non-stick spray and place that sprayed side down over the dough when proofing to help it not stick when removing it.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 9gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 586mgPotassium: 79mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2IUCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
    Course: bread, Side Dish
    Cuisine: American, French