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Easy French Bread Recipe

This is the same french bread recipe I learned way back in my college cooking class, and it has never failed us. It is perfectly soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside just like french bread should be!

The best part is you not only get two loaves so you can freeze one for later, but it makes the best garlic bread too!

Yes, Cade and I took a cooking class together in college. Back then we thought it would just be a fun and easy class to take together, and it was super it was a great way to start off our marriage. We had no idea then that one day we would be cooking together as a family and sharing our lives and recipes with all of you.

In a way, it all goes back to this homemade french bread!

a photo of a loaf of french bread cut into five slices with a full loaf sitting next to the slices.

Ingredients for Homemade French Bread

You only need 6 ingredients for the perfect french bread, and if you don’t count water as an ingredient, then you only need 5! Here is your shopping list:

  • Warm Water
  • Instant Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Canola (or Vegetable) Oil
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Flour

It’s quite possible that you have all the ingredients on hand already, so you’re in business! Let’s make some homemade french bread!

What Flour for French Bread?

Before we get to the instructions, let me talk flour. There are lots of recipes out there with all sorts of different combinations of flours, but we have had the best results with just good ol’ all purpose flour.
a photo of a slice of french bread leaning up against more slices of french bread with a full loaf in the background

How to Make a French Bread Recipe

Making french bread at home may sound a little intimidating, but there is no need to fear! We are going to walk you through it step by step!

Step 1: Activate the Yeast

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a glass measuring cup and set it aside to let the yeast activate.

Step 2: Combine Remaining Ingredients

In a stand mixer, add half the flour and the oil and salt and stir to combine.

Step 3: Combine All Ingredients

Add in the yeast mixture and mix on low. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is only slightly sticky. Then let it mix for a few minutes.

Step 4: First and Second Rest

Cover the bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then put it back on the stand mixer and mix for a minute. Then let it rest for another 10 minutes.

Step 5: Resting and Kneading

Do this same process for 4 more cycles. Add some oil to a clean bowl and place the dough in it and turn the dough to cover it in oil.

Step 6: Another Rest

Cover the bowl and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Step 7: Form Loaves

Drizzle a little oil on the counter and spread it around. Place the dough on the oiled counter and divide it in half. Press each half of dough into a rectangle then roll them up starting on the long edge. Press gently to seal out any air bubbles.

Step 8: Final Rise

Set the loaves seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 1 hour.

Step 9: Score

Preheat the oven. Score the top of the dough with a sharp blade.

Step 10: Bake

Place the baking sheet into the oven and toss 4 ice cubes onto the tray and shut the oven door.
PRO TIP: The ice cubes create steam which makes the inside of the bread be nice and soft with a slightly crustier outside.
Bake and cover with foil if needed.

Step 11: Butter

Remove the bread from the oven and lather both loaves with butter. Slice and serve!

a photo of three slices of french bread stacked on top of each other with the buttery golden top facing the camera..

What Kind of Yeast Should I Use?

We have a whole post on yeast, but I almost exclusively use instant yeast. It never let’s me down and always does the job perfectly. I keep a big bag of yeast in the freezer. It lasts for forever and keeping it in the freezer helps it stay fresh.

Can I Make French Bread Without a Stand Mixer?

Absolutely! It builds muscles and character! Mix everything with a spatula at directed in the instructions and then do all the kneading by hand.

Why Score French Bread?

Scoring the dough after the final rise creates weak spots in the dough to allow for expansion as the bread rises while baking. This keep the bread from cracking in places in you don’t want it to.

How Can I Get My Bread More Golden?

You can brush the top of your loaves with an egg wash if you want. Moving the oven rack a little closer to the top also does the trick for me. You’ll have to test how your oven bakes to find the sweet spot.

Ways to Enjoy French Bread

This might seem like a silly thing to write about because you don’t need anything to enjoy french bread. It’s heavenly goodness on its own, but here are a few ways we like it:

Oh man, now I’m literally drooling! Carbs and I have a solid, long-lasting relationship of bliss!

How to Freeze French Bread

Like I said, this recipe makes two loaves, so we always freeze one of them for later. It freezes very well! Wrap loaf or loaves (after they have completely cooled) in saran wrap or tinfoil, place in a ziploc bag and place in the freezer. They will keep for up to 3 months. when you’re ready to eat it, set it out on the counter to bring it to room temperature and slice and eat it. You could also warm it up in the oven if you want it warm and delicious!

 

I had a friend who would get a loaf of french bread every year for Christmas. Like his parents would legit wrap a loaf of french bread because he loved it that much and french bread is that good. It makes me laugh so much and also makes me so happy!

This french bread recipe is the best of the best! You’ll love how simple it is and how many ways if can be used for joy!

More EASY BREAD RECIPES You’ll Love:

 

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a photo of a slice of french bread leaning up against more slices of french bread with a full loaf in the background

Easy French Bread Recipe

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Instant Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Fine Sea Salt
  • 5-5 1/2 Cups Flour

Instructions

  • In a glass measuring cup, add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir to combine and set aside to foam.
  • In a standing mixer, add 3 of the 6 cups of flour, oil and the salt, mix to combine.
  • Add the yeast and water mixture and mix on low using a dough hook. Gradually add in more flour by 1/2 cup until the dough is slightly sticky but has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. You should use 5 1/2-6 cups total flour in this recipe. Continue to mix for 2-3 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic or a towel and set aside for 10 minutes. Place the bowl back in the mixer and mix again for another minute and then allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Continue for 4 more cycles of allowing the dough to rest and then kneading it just as you do with many artisan breads. If you do not have time, (our professor had told us she usually skips the kneading and resting part but I never do) you can add a drizzle of oil to a clean bowl and then place the dough in, immediately turning it over so that the oil coats all the dough. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Place a little oil directly on your counter and spread it out. Now place the dough on the oiled counter and divide the dough in half.
  • Press each section into a thick rectangle the size of a 9x13" pan (our professor always set one next to the dough). Roll the dough up starting from the long edge and pressing gently to seal out any air bubbles.
  • Finally, pinch the edge to seal. Arrange seam side down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with a towel to rise for an hour.
  • Place the oven rack in the center and heat to 400. Using a sharp blade, slash through the dough to create a marked topping.
  • Place the bread in the oven and throw 4 ice cubes into the bottom of the pan to create steam and shut the oven door.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, covering with foil if needed. Remove from the oven and open a stick of butter then rub all over the top. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Easy French Bread Recipe
Amount Per Serving (2 slices)
Calories 546 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Sodium 587mg26%
Potassium 158mg5%
Carbohydrates 112g37%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 7mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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a photo of three slices of french bread stacked on top of each other.

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Secrets to Cooking on a Smoker like a Pro!

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Secrets to Cooking on a Smoker like a Pro!