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french bread loaf sliced

My Favorite French Bread Recipe


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves of bread 1x

Description

Soft, pillowy, and chewy on the middle with a just-crunchy-enough crust, my favorite French bread recipe is made with simple ingredients and comes out incredible every time.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • Egg wash made from 1 egg white + 1 tablespoon water, optional

Instructions

  1. Add the water, yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil to a large bowl. Allow mixture to stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add one cup of flour, and mix to combine. Add another cup of flour and mix through. Mix by hand for 1 or 2 minutes. The dough should be the consistency of cake batter. Add another cup of flour and mix until well combined. Add flour until you can’t mix it by hand very well.
  3. Sprinkle some flour on your table and turn the dough onto the table. Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. This should take 6 to 10 minutes of kneading. You can also do this part in a stand mixer if you have one. The kneading is really important when it comes to making the bread really soft and tender, so don't be skimpy on this step.
  4. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Gently remove the dough from the pan (no need to punch is down or squish it too much).
  6. Divide the dough in half. Gently roll it into a log that is 12 to 14 inches long. Place the first log on one side of a baking sheet. Use your hands to gently reshape the loaf and tuck the ends as needed. I like to tuck in the loaf with two hands right at the base of the loaf close to the pan.
  7. Repeat with the second loaf, and have it fit on the other side of the baking sheet.
  8. Cover the baking sheet with a towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes or so. The dough will be puffy.
  9. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. If you are using the egg wash, mix it together and gently brush it over the top of the bread. I like to use it! It makes the top shiny and the color really nice.
  11. Use a sharp knife to slash the top every 2 inches on a diagonal right before you put it in the oven.
  12. Place in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown.
  13. Remove from the oven, and transfer the loaves from the pan onto a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
  14. Store extra bread once it is fully cooled in a sealed container or plastic baggie. It makes great French toast and French bread pizza.

Notes

  • Most flexible recipe ever! I love this recipe. Feel free to half the recipe if needed for 1 loaf instead of 2.
  • Spoiler alert: these are the same ingredients from my mom that we make pizza AND bread sticks AND French bread from! So if you've made either of those, you are basically a pro at this recipe already too!
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: how to make french bread, easy french bread recipe, french bread, french bread recipe, homemade french bread