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French Bread ~ Easy and Delicious French Bread Recipe with Yeast

French Bread ~ Easy and Delicious French Bread Recipe with Yeast

French bread is a staple of French cuisine. It is made from a dough that’s leavened with yeast and baked in an oven. This French bread recipe bakes well as a long, slender loaf. It is usually very crusty on the outside with a delicate, light crumb on the inside. Compare it to an Italian loaf which is broader and shorter with a denser, chewier crumb and you can see the difference.

You don’t need a bread maker or a special loaf pan. Instead, you can make French bread using  a bread stone, greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. 

French Bread Recipe

This is a pretty easy French bread recipe, and it’s really fun to make your own bread. It doesn’t require a great deal of work so you can make it ahead of time or plan it to be ready around the time you wish to serve it – but that might take a little mathematical gymnastics with the rising and proofing.

Whatever the case, learning how to bake bread is worth the time. There’s just something about kneading and rising the dough, the smell of fresh baked bread…. It’s good for the soul. The ingredients are simple and typical pantry staples and the results taste amazing. 

Use these step-by-step directions and make classic French bread at home. It’s simple with just 20 minutes of prep, 25 – 30 minutes to rise, and 20 minutes to bake. 

homemade French bread

homemade French bread

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees F)
  • 1 packet of Red Star yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups unbleached flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 egg white + 1 tablespoon warm water

How to Make French Bread

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put the ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl, making sure that the temperature is between 110 degrees F and 115 degrees F.
  3. Add yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir gently then let stand for about five minutes. When the yeast is bubbly, it is ready.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, remaining sugar, and remaining water.
  5. Add the yeast and mix well to blend all ingredients thoroughly.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, and knead for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springs back when lightly pressed.
  7. Cover the dough and let it rise until it doubles in size. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two pieces for two loaves or just make one loaf.
  9. Roll out the dough so that it is thin and flat.
  10. Roll the dough up long-ways, like you would roll a jelly roll. Turn the ends under and place the loaf, seam side down, on a bread stone, greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  11. Make three shallow, diagonal slits into the loaf.
  12. Combine the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water. Gently brush the mixture over the loaf. Another option is to brush olive oil and sprinkle coarse salt over the top.

Before setting it in the oven, continue with these steps.

Important steps for the best loaf texture

  1. In an oven-safe pan, bring several cups of water to a boil. Place the pan of hot water on the lower oven rack. Place the loaf on the rack above the water.
  2. Turn off the oven, allowing the bread to rise and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the water and discard but leave the bread in the oven.
  4. With the bread still in the oven, turn it on and set it for 435 degrees F.
  5. Bake the bread for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not subtract time for preheating.
  6. If the bread is not done after 10 minutes, leave it in the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and allow it to bake for another 5 minutes or until done.

Serves 12

Storing French Bread

Be sure to cool the loaf completely before storing. Otherwise, moisture will make the bread soggy. When it is cool, you can slice it in half and place in a plastic storage bag, being sure to eliminate all air before sealing. Another option is to wrap it completely in foil so no air gets inside.

Set the bread on the counter in a cool and dry area, out of direct sunlight. It will last 2 – 3 days. 

Storing homemade bread in a breadbox is ideal because it is dark and dry.

Only refrigerate bread in hot, humid weather. If you want to freeze it, use a heavy, airtight freezer plastic storage bag with an airtight seal. You can also shape the dough and freeze it before baking. Freezing won’t kill the yeast, however, it will slow it down.

Ways to Serve French Bread

Kids and adults alike will love slices of French bread with butter, sliced for garlic bread, sandwiches, and more. You can toast it and also use it to make French toast. The crust is a golden brown. It’s crunchy, yet porous enough to soak up the country soups that it is an excellent partner for. Pretty much any way you would enjoy bread, you can serve French bread in the same way. C’est délicieux!

Breadmaking Kneaded Breads

Kneaded breads require more time and energy than batter breads. Both both types of yeast dough require the dough to rise before shaping the loaf. This enables the yeast to activate. 

With kneaded dough breads, the color of crust will be an even golden brown. It will be a bit darker on top than on sides and bottom. Unlike with batter breads, the crust will be smooth, crisp, tender and free from cracks.

French bread recipe

French bread recipe

FAQ’s

How do you keep French bread fresh and soft? 

Storing French bread properly will ensure it stays fresh. You can store it in a bread box or wrapped in foil. You can also use a plastic storage bag. Be sure to get the air out before sealing. Leave it in a dark, cool spot on the kitchen counter. It will remain fresh for 2 – 3 days.

What is the difference between French bread and a baguette?

French bread has softer crust than baguettes do. In addition, French bread is wider versus a baguette which is much narrower.

What is a French bread called?

A baguette, one variety of French bread, is generally around 50 cm long and 2-3 cm in diameter. It is a typical French bread loaf. The word “baguette” comes from the diminutive form of the word “bâton”, meaning “stick”. The crust should be dry and hard while the inside should be soft and moist.

Homemade French Bread

This easy French bread recipe will soon become your family favorite bread. It’s so versatile. I bake a lot of bread because most premade breads in stores contain lots of extra ingredients and preservatives to increase the shelf life. We avoid palm oil in my home because my son gets sick from palm oil.

I didn’t start out a baker, but I’ve become one over time. I first started making muffins and then ventured into breadmaking. My first bread to bake without a bread maker was buckwheat bread . I couldn’t believe how simple it was! Making a French bread recipe from scratch is easier than you may think!

If you want to try some other delicious bread recipes, check out coconut bread and focaccia for beginners.

Thanks so much for visiting my site. I hope you enjoy making this authentic and easy French bread recipe. If you do, please let me know how it went in the Comments below. 

French bread
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French Bread

You can use a bread stone, greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Course Bread
Cuisine French
Keyword Classic French Bread recipe, French bread, French bread recipe, How to make French bread
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rest Time 25 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup warm water 110 - 115 degrees F
  • 1 packet of Red Star yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups unbleached flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 egg white + 1 tablespoon warm water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Put the ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl, making sure that the temperature is between 110 degrees F and 115 degrees F. Add yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir gently and let stand for about five minutes. When the yeast is bubbly, it is ready.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add flour, remaining sugar, and remaining water.
  • Add the yeast and mix well to blend all ingredients thoroughly.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead for 5 - 7 minutes or until dough is smooth and springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Cover the dough and let it rise until it doubles in size, about 20 - 30 minutes.
  • Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two pieces for two loaves or just make one loaf.
  • Roll out the dough so that it is thin and flat.
  • Roll the dough up long-ways, like you would roll a jelly roll. Turn the ends under and place the loaf, seam side down, on a bread stone or cookie sheet.
  • Make three shallow, diagonal slits into the loaf.
  • Combine the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water. Gently brush the mixture over the loaf. Alternatively, you can brush olive oil and sprinkle coarse salt over the top.
  • In an oven-safe pan, bring a couple of cups of water to a boil. Place the pan of hot water on the lower oven rack.
  • Place the loaf on the rack above the water.
  • Turn off the oven, allowing the bread to rise and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the water and discard but leave the bread in the oven.
  • With the bread still in the oven, turn it on and set it for 435 degrees F.
  • Bake the bread for 8 to 10 minutes (do not subtract time for preheating).
  • If the bread is not done after 10 minutes, leave it in the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and allow it to bake for another 5 minutes or until done.

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