Homemade French Bread Recipe

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Homemade French Bread is surprisingly easy to make! And there's nothing quite like a warm loaf fresh out of the oven.

Oh, you guys. This French bread recipe.

It’s really a must-have staple recipe in every home cook’s repertoire. And once you go homemade, you’ll never want to go back to that store-bought bagged loaf again. Because nothing in the world compares with a hot, steamy, crusty loaf of soft french bread coming out of your oven.

Homemade French Bread is surprisingly easy to make! And there's nothing quite like a warm loaf fresh out of the oven.

And the best part? It’s absolutely fool-proof. I swear it.

Even for those of you with a yeast-bread-making phobia, I promise that you can make this bread. The very hardest part of the entire bread-making process is the 50 minutes you’ll spend letting it rise and then kneading it down.

WAIT!

I know. Seeing “50 minutes” anywhere in a recipe usually has me running for the door too. But really, it’s not so bad here. Let me explain…

The process is pretty simple. After making the dough (which I do in my KitchenAid Stand Mixer using the dough hook), you let the dough rest and rise for 10 minutes. Then you knead it (I just turn my mixer on for a minute). Then you let it rest and rise again for 10 minutes. Repeat over and over for a total of 5 rests and 5 kneads.

And it’s really not as obnoxious as it sounds. I just set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes and then wander off to do whatever needs doing around the house. When the timer goes off, I run the mixer for a quick minute and make a tick mark on a pad of paper nearby (so I don’t have to try and remember how many times I’ve repeated the process), and set the timer for another 10 minutes. Then I’m off on my merry way again.

Once the rising process is done, all that’s left is to divide the dough into two portions (because this recipe makes TWO tantalizingly delicious loaves), roll the dough out, and then roll each loaf up (cinnamon roll-style). After 30 minutes in the oven, it’s all done and ready to eat!

See? Really not all that labor intensive. Especially considering the result.

Homemade French Bread is surprisingly easy to make! And there's nothing quite like a warm loaf fresh out of the oven.

Like I said, this recipe makes two gigantic, wonderful loaves. And it stays soft for days in an airtight container.

Although, I have to admit, it doesn’t usually last that long around our house. We’re all carb-loving people over here, and we easily demolish a loaf of this stuff in a day (or less).

We’ll use this French bread recipe with breakfast, lunch, dinner. But my very favorite way to eat it is as a bedtime snack. I like getting it all warm and toasty, smothered in butter and honey. It’s so cozy 🙂

Homemade French Bread is surprisingly easy to make! And there's nothing quite like a warm loaf fresh out of the oven.

I really, really hope you’ll give this a try! It’s so much better to eat your own french bread, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make.

Enjoy! I know you will… just be sure you have a good bread knife to cut it!

Homemade French Bread

Homemade French Bread

Yield: 2 large loaves

It's really a must-have staple recipe in every home cook's repertoire. Once you go homemade, you'll never want to go back to that store-bought bagged loaf again. Because nothing in the world compares with a hot, steamy, crusty loaf of soft french bread coming out of your oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups warm water (think bath water)
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 5 cups all purpose flour* + up to 1/2 cup more
  • 1 egg + 2 tbsp water, beaten
  •  

Instructions

Pour the warm water into a small bowl (I use a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup). Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Sprinkle the sugar and the salt over the yeast. Add the oil. Let water sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy (see this post on how to proof yeast).

Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook and add the 5 cups of all purpose flour to the mixer bowl. Add the water to the flour (be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so that all the sugar comes out). Turn the mixer on low speed and mix until a dough forms. The dough should neatly pull from the sides of the bowl. If it sticks to the sides, add the additional 1/2 cup a little bit at a time until the dough is smooth, elastic, and pulling from the sides.

Once the dough looks just right, turn the mixer off and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rest for 10 minutes. Then knead dough for a minute.

Allow to rest and rise for another 10 minutes. Then knead again for a minute. Repeat 3 more times (for a total of 5 rests and 5 kneads).

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll out each portion of dough into a large rectangle, about a 1/4 inch thick. Roll the dough from the long end, cinnamon roll-style. Fold the ends underneath to seal it and shape the bread with your hands a little bit (just to move some of the thickness from the ends to the middle).

Place each loaf on a baking sheet (I bake both loaves on the same baking sheet). Use a sharp knife to cut diagonal gashes in the top of the dough. Brush the egg wash on top of each loaf.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately or let cool.

You can store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes

*I've used half whole wheat flour with no problems.

I have never made this recipe without a stand mixer. I assume you can do it, but I can't personally vouch for the outcome.

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15 thoughts on “Homemade French Bread Recipe”

  1. That is a beautiful loaf of bread, inside and out! The method of making the bread sounds so interesting; I am definitely going to give this recipe a try. It’s amazing that you don’t have to let the loaves rise after shaping them. I guess that the amount of yeast used in the recipe compensates for the lack of rise time. Oh, and 50 minutes for two loaves of such beautiful bread is heaven sent when compared to the 3-4 hours that it usually takes to make bread. Great job!

    Reply
  2. I have made lots of bread but never tried french bread. I love to make french toast with it. It is so good. I really need to try this. You make it sound so simple. I would like to try it half whole wheat since I grind my own wheat. I might then try all whole wheat.

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  3. This recipe is the best. I bake a lot of bread and this was very good. It seems like more work than many breads, but so worth the extra time. Going right on my Pinterest favorite recipe board. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
  4. I made this a couple weeks ago and it turned out fantastic!! Came together effortlessly and turned out looking and tasting like I knew what I was doing! Impressive! This is a wonderful recipe Ashton. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Reply
  5. That is beautiful bread!!! I don’t have a mixer right now so I decided to try this because it wasn’t a lot of flour to knead! No issue with mixing by hand vesus mixer I made two batches back to back and they are as light a bread as you would buy in the store… And I know what went into it! Thanks so much. Oh, I used 3cups whole wheat and two white.

    Reply

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