Our French Bread recipe is crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the center. It’s the perfect side dish for any meal.
We can’t resist an amazing loaf of bread! It doesn’t matter if it’s yeast bread, sourdough, or artisan. We love bread and always keep a loaf in the kitchen. I love to make this French bread for our pasta nights or if we’re having a big pot of soup. We like to serve it with Easy Tomato Basil Soup, Homemade Vegetable Soup, Bread Dipping Oil, or Broccoli Pasta.
Easy Bread Recipe
This bread couldn’t be easier to make. I prefer to use a stand mixer, but you can knead the dough with your hands if your prefer. After the dough mixes, all that’s left to do is let the dough rest, and bake! It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Another great thing about this recipe is that you probably already have all the ingredients in the pantry, assuming you have some yeast. All you need are 6 ingredients, counting water, and you can make an amazing loaf of bread and have it on the table by dinnertime!
Unlike many recipes you see online, this recipe makes 1 loaf instead of 2 loaves. If you’re a small family or single person, 1 loaf of French bread may be the perfect amount. There’s no reason to make more than you need!
How to Make French Bread:
- Place the 2.5 cups of flour, water, olive oil, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of stand mixer.
- Ues the hook attachment to mix the ingredients on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium.
- If the dough is sticky, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until a smooth, elastic dough forms. It should pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Form the dough into a ball, and drizzle it with olive oil. Cover, and allow the dough to rest until doubled in size, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- After the dough doubles, use your hand to deflate the dough, and form it into a long loaf (about 12 inches x 3 inches).
- Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet, and use a sharp knife or bread lame to cut slits along the top.
- Cover, and allow the bread to rise a second time until puffy and doubled in size.
- Optional: Make the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a bowl. Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash to the bread.
- Just before you bake the bread, toss some ice cubes into the bottom of the oven. Bake at 375°F for 25 to 35 minutes or until the outside of the bread is brown and crispy.
Tips and Variations:
- Flour: I used bread flour to give the French bread a nice chewy texture, but all-purpose flour can also be used. It will give the exterior a crunchy texture and the inside will be lighter and slightly fluffy. Start with less flour and add more only if needed.
- Egg Wash: Sometimes I’ll add an egg wash to give the bread a nice shiny exterior. It helps to give it a richer, brown color, too. This is optional, but the egg wash does enhance the appearance of the bread.
- Slits: I recommend cutting some slits across the top of the French bread. This gives the bread a place to expand naturally without bursting at its weakest point. The best way to do this is to use a very sharp knife or a bread lame. Occasionally, the bread may bulge at the seam, so it’s best to place it seam side down when you transfer it to the pan.
- Kneading: Don’t over knead the bread; otherwise, it can become tough and dense. Knead it until it feels soft, elastic, and smooth. It shouldn’t stick to your fingers and shouldn’t feel too heavy in weight.
- Yeast: Before you start the recipe, check the expiration date on the yeast! If it’s expired, it may not work in the recipe.
- Order: I like to add the ingredients in this order, so flour doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl. It’s not 100% necessary to do it this way, but it certainly helps with mixing. –> Water, Sugar, Yeast, Flour, Salt, Olive Oil
Room Temperature: This bread keeps best in a Ziploc bag for about 2 days.
Refrigerator: This French bread can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. However, the dry air in the refrigerator tends to dry out the bread, so keep that mind when choosing how to store it.
Freezer: Allow the bread to cool completely. Then, wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It should stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. To dethaw the bread, take it out of the freezer, unwrap it, and allow it to set at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Wrap it in foil, and bake at 400°F for 5 to 6 minutes to crisp the exterior.
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- 2 ½ to 3 cups 300 grams to 360 grams bread flour
- 1 cup 237 ml water, warmed to 110 to 115°F
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast 1 standard packet
- 1 teaspoons salt
Optional Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Place 2 ½ cups flour, water, olive oil, sugar, yeast, and salt in a stand mixer.
- Use the dough hook attachment on low speed to mix the ingredients. After the ingredients are mixed, adjust the speed to medium and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes until a smooth, elastic dough forms. The dough shouldn’t be sticky and should pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add extra flour ¼ cup at a time to reach the correct consistency.
- Form the dough into a ball, and drizzle with oil. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to double in size, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- After the dough doubles in size, use your hand to deflate the dough. Form it into a long loaf shape about 12 inches x 3 inches, and transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a sharp knife or bread lame to cut slits into the top of the dough. Cover the dough, and allow the it to rise a second time, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Optional: Make the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a bowl. Set aside.
- While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 375°F. After the dough rises, use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash if using. Toss ice cubes into the bottom of the oven or place ice cubes in a heat safe pan. Place the pan on the bottom rack. Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- After the bread bakes, allow it to cool completely before slicing. Serve it with your favorite entree or dipping sauce.
- Please see post for storage recommendations.