This homemade French Bread recipe is a fun baking project for bakers of all skill levels. Enjoy it slathered with butter as a side dish with any meal or for making hoagies, sandwiches, garlic bread and more!
Easy French Bread Recipe
The aroma of baking bread is both comforting and addictive. To make homemade French Bread place active dry yeast, warm water and sugar in a large mixing bowl and let it sit for 5-8 minutes to bloom. Once it becomes frothy, add vegetable oil. To the bowl add 3 cups of flour and mix with the paddle attachment to combine. Add the reserved 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour and once combined, switch to the dough hook and knead the dough to develop the gluten, until it’s smooth and elastic. (Reserve 1/4 cup of flour) Cover and let rise until doubled in size then remove from the bowl to a floured surface and divide into three equal portions. To create the airy French Bread texture, roll jelly roll style and pinch the ends together. Place onto a sheet pan and let rise one more time before baking. Just before baking, brush with egg beaten with milk to create that beautiful golden color and crust.
How to Make the BEST French Bread Recipe
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade French Bread: All purpose flour or bread flour, active dry yeast, vegetable or canola oil, granulated sugar, warm water, large egg and whole milk.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: Stand mixer or hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, large bowl, small bowl, cooling racks, pastry brush and cooling rack.
- Can I knead the dough by hand? Yes, you can! A mixer makes light work of bread making and is my preferred method. Please note, when kneading by hand it will take longer than 5 minutes and the rule of thumb is the same. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Sugar helps to “feed” the yeast and it doesn’t make this bread sweet at all. It’s an important ingredient.
- You may opt to add granulated garlic, onion powder and dried Italian seasoning or dried rosemary to the dry ingredients, if you’d like to change the flavor profile.
- When cutting the slices on top of the loaves, use a super sharp knife and slice diagonally not straight across. It’s not necessary to cut deep. Use a quick slashing movement and avoid sawing the dough.
- You can prepare the bread dough, cover and place into the refrigerator overnight. When doing so, divide the dough and form into loaves per the recipe then allow it to rise for 45-60 minutes on the counter prior to baking.
- Bread flour has more protein or gluten in it than all purpose flour. This lends a delicious crunch to the exterior of the bread. All purpose flour will work and still be delicious, so go with your preference.
- Wheat flour will also work in this recipe, bu it’s very dense and may require more rising time.
- Bread making isn’t always an exact science. By that I mean, the amount of flour may need adjusting depending on the weather i.e. a humid day may require slightly more flour. The key is, once it pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl while kneading, stop there.
- Store homemade French Bread at room temperature tightly wrapped for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 2 months.
More Easy Bread Recipes to Make
- Dollywood’s Famous Cinnamon Bread is addictive.
- Cheesy Garlic and Herb Bread doesn’t require any bread making at all.
- Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread is a real treat.
- No yeast is required to make a loaf of Beer Bread.
- Praline Pecan Monkey Bread is a pull apart bread that will take you from brunch to dessert.
- Use frozen bread dough to make these Tear and Share Pull Apart Cheesy Italian Bread Twists.
- Gluten Free Bread from gf Jules.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 1 0.25 oz package active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil plus additional to grease bowl and pans
- 5-5 3/4 cups bread flour or all purpose flour divided use
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp whole milk
- To make Bread: Dissolve yeast and sugar with warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 5-8 minutes or until frothy. Add oil, gently mix.
- To the bowl 3 cups flour and salt. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Lower the speed of the mixer and mix in 2 1/2 cups flour or just until the dough is easy to handle. (Reserve 1/4 cup flour. On a humid day you may need more flour and on a dry day it may take slightly less.)
- Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic and dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add additional flour (from the 1/4 cup that's left) 1 Tbsp at a time, only if needed. (Alternatively, Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.)
- Place into a clean greased bowl (olive oil or vegetable oil works) turning to coat. Cover bowl with a damp towel and let rise in warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until double in size. (Dough is ready if the center is gently pressed and the indentation remains.)
- Punch down dough and divide into three even portions. Roll and shape each third into roughly a 15-inch rectangle. Roll jelly roll style pinching ends together. Brush baking sheet/s with oil arranging loaves on sheet pan leaving ample room for each loaf to rise without touching. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until double in size.
- To Bake: Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl. Brush over top and sides of loaves. Make 5 diagonal slashes across top of each loaf with a sharp knife.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.