Easy Homemade French Bread recipe that can be made in the comfort of your home! Great served warm with butter or use it to make garlic bread, French bread pizzas and homemade croutons! Yields 1 loaf.
Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking?
It’s better than any smell a nose could possible… uh, smell. But don’t get me wrong I also love the aroma onions sautéing in butter, chocolate chip cookies baking and of course, sizzling bacon. However nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the smell of bread in the oven.
And this homemade french bread recipe is SO easy! Crisp crust, soft chewy center and full of delicious and addictive carbs. Serve warm slices with salted butter or use it to make French bread pizzas, garlic bread, croutons and more!
Looking for a more traditional bread? Click here for my no-knead French bread recipe.
To Make This Easy Homemade French Bread You Will Need:
- warm water – Should be around 110-115℉ (or 43-46℃).
- rapid rise yeast – Best for quick baking projects as the granules are smaller and activate faster.
- bread flour – Has higher protein than regular flour which will produce more gluten to achieve a better rise in bread.
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavor of this recipe.
- olive oil – Lends flavor, moisture and helps give the bread a crisp outer texture.
- egg wash – Helps to give a nice golden outer crust.
Rapid rise yeast is CRUCIAL to making this bread quick and effortless, being that you can totally skip the first rise if in a rush. Easy-peasy!
Add 1 cup warm water (about 110-115℉ (or 43-46℃)) into the bowl of your stand mixer.
Too hot of water can kill your yeast.
For a while I would use an instant read thermometer to get an accurate temperature of my water.
Sprinkle 2-1/4 teaspoon (or one 1/4 ounce envelope) rapid rise yeast over top and watch it bloom.
Am I the only crazy one or are there others out there that love the smell of yeast? I just wish it was called something else, like anything else but yeast.
Next, while the yeast does its thing, in a bowl add 2-1/2 cups bread flour and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Give it a quick whisk to combine. In a pinch, all-purpose flour can be used.
However the crumb or texture of the bread will be different than if you used bread flour.
The top loaf was made with unbleached all-purpose flour and the bottom loaf was made with bread flour. A slight difference in texture and crumb.
All-purpose vs. Bread Flour?
It all boils down to high protein. Protein content will affect many aspects of the flour and doughs/batters such as water absorption, cohesiveness, viscoelasticity, dough strength, texture, loaf volume, and crumb grain. <—I learned that from the bakerpedia.com. Typically (not always) if a recipe is yeast leavened (i.e breads) you should use bread flour. If a recipe is chemically leavened (baking powder and/or baking soda) it will need less protein and all-purpose flour is usually called for. Like in biscuits, cakes and cookies, for example.
Gradually working in batches, add 1/3 of the bread flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer.
Mixing on low speed until just combined.
Continue adding the flour and mixing until the flour is incorporated.
Next, switch over to the dough hook attachment.
Mix on low speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Alternatively you can knead by hand.
This should take 4 to 6 minutes. If you find it’s still a little too sticky you can add a smidgen (like a teaspoon or two) more flour.
In a large, clean bowl add some olive oil. I eyeball it, but it’s around 2 teaspoons.
Once the dough has finished, remove from the dough hook and shape into a smooth ball.
Place the dough into the bowl and use it to coat the inside of the bowl with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
By now it should have doubled in size.
Press or “punch” it down the dough to release the air bubbles and deflate it.
Starting on one side, use a spatula to scrape underneath and roll or fold over 1/3 of the way.
Continue until the dough is shaped like a log.
Transfer the loaf, seam side down, onto a parchment paper or a silicone mat lined, rimmed metal baking sheet.
From here, shape or stretch the dough to form a classic “French loaf” shape or shape it however you like. Brush the tops and sides with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of water) and make a few slits on the top with a knife or bread lame. I stick the entire blade in flour before doing this.
Slide the pan onto the middle rack of your cold oven. YES COLD OVEN.
Shut the oven door (yes, with the loaf inside 😉) and turn your oven on, with the temperature set to 375℉ (or 190℃) then immediately set a timer for 30 to 35 minutes. As the temp slowly climbs, the bread will slowly rise and bake.
And what’s the best thing to make with French bread you ask?
Besides smearing with salted butter? French bread pizzas of course! That and garlic bread!)
Easy Homemade French Bread
- 1 cup warm water
- 2¼ teaspoons rapid rise, or fast acting yeast
- 2½ cups bread flour, see notes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, for bowl
- egg wash
- KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer - White
- In the bowl of your stand mixer add the warm water (110-115℉ or 43-46℃) and sprinkle in rapid rise yeast. Set that off to the side for 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour with kosher salt.
- Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add in the flour mixture. Mix on low until just combined.
- Switch over to a dough hook, and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and tacky and doesn't stick to the bowl. About 4 to 6 minutes. If the dough is still sticky, add 1 to 3 teaspoons flour until no longer sticky.
- Meanwhile, lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil.
- Remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Add it to the oiled bowl, using it to coat the inside of the bowl with oil. This keeps the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel before placing it in a warm area to rise, double in size or about 1 hour.
- Use yoru hand to gently punch or press down the dough to release the air. Starting on one side of the bowl, use a spatula to roll the dough into a log shape. Transfer it to a silicone or parchment lined rimed baking sheet pan - seam side down. Gently stretch the dough into a loaf shape.
- Brush the loaf an egg wash (optional) and make cuts into the top of the dough. I stick my knife into flour before scoring the top.
- Slide the pan on to the middle rack of a cold oven.**
- Turn on the oven, setting the temperature to 375℉ (or 190℃) YES! while the loaf is in the oven! Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Rotating the pan halfway through baking.
- Remove and let cool slightly before slicing.
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