It doesn't have to be difficult to bake bread at home, and this French bread recipe is one of my “must have” recipes. I use it for making bread bowls for soup, such as Wisconsin Cheese Soup, French bread pizza, garlic bread, or accompanying soup, salad, or stew. French bread, not surprisingly, is great for French toast. Because it has a sturdier crust, it holds up well even when soaked with egg batter – so you don't end up with your bread falling apart before you get it to the pan.
If you prefer a crusty French bread recipe, make sure to use the salt water glaze. This gives the bread a chewy, crispy crust. If you would like a softer crust, you may skip the glaze. (I highly recommend using it.) It's great to sink your teeth into a slice of fresh bread, dripping with butter or olive oil, with just the right resistance on the crust. No mushy, “stick to the roof of your mouth” bread with this recipe.
Homemade French Bread Recipe – Tools and Ingredients
For grinding your own fresh flour, I recommend the Nutrimill Classic Grain Mill. It's reasonably compact, easy to use, and doesn't heat up the flour like some other mills. To make the French bread dough, you can either use the dough cycle on your bread machine, mix in a heavy stand mixer with dough hook or Bosch Kitchen Machine, or mix by hand. I use a stainless steel chopper/scraper for cutting and shaping dough.
This bread is typically baked on a half sheet pan, which you either grease or line with reusable parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. A large grid cooling rack is good for bread and for keeping smaller items like cookies from falling through the rack.
My preferred French bread ingredients:
- SAF-INSTANT yeast
- Frontier sea salt
- King Arthur bread flour or other organic bread flour such as Heartland Mills
- Organic cane sugar
- Non-chlorinated water
A single recipe makes one loaf (this is a double batch of the French bread recipe in the photos, thus two loaves). The full printable recipe is below the photos, along with a video demo of the bread from start to finish.
Print Friendly French Bread RecipePrint
Easy Homemade French Bread
Homemade crusty French bread recipe – This recipe is perfect for bread bowls, French bread pizza, garlic bread or accompanying soup or stew. Makes great French toast!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon bread machine yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dissolve sugar, yeast and salt in warm water in a large bowl or mixer of choice. Add flour cup by cup, mixing after each addition, until a firm dough is formed (or let the dough cycle do its thing).
- Let dough rise about 20 minutes, punch down. Cover and let rise in a warm location until doubled in size.
- Dump dough onto lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough in a rectangle, just slightly shorter than the length of your baking sheet and about half as wide. Roll up jelly roll style. Place on lightly greased pan (or cover pan with reusable parchment paper), seam side down. Allow to rise until double in size.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Score the top of each loaf with a sharp knife three times, about 1/3 of the way through the dough. Brush with glaze and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Keywords: bread, French Bread
More Homemade Bread Recipes
Enjoy fresh bread? Bread baking doesn't have to be complicated. My sons have been making bread since they were around 10 years old. If they can do it, you can do it!
My bread book features troubleshooting tips for the most common bread baking questions. There's also tips for high altitude adjustments, freezing and storing bread (including par baked rolls). There are also recipes for leftover bread, and foods that go great with bread, like flavored butters.
Click here to learn more or get my book “Never Buy Bread Again” – NOW AVAILABLE in spiral bound print and ebook formats.
Don’t forget to check out:
- 14 Homemade Bread Recipes – Never Buy Bread Again” for an assortment of bread recipes, including gluten free options
- Troubleshooting Tips to Help You Bake the Perfect Loaf of Bread
- Is Commercial Bread Making You Sick?
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Originally posted in 2015, last updated in 2018.