Homemade French Bread Recipe

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This homemade French bread recipe is easy to make with only 6 ingredients and is so much better than store-bought. Watch the video and follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to make French bread!

overhead view of a loaf of Homemade French Bread Recipe with 4 slices cut


I’m a sucker for homemade bread. No knead bread, pretzel bread, dinner rolls, you name it I prefer to make it fresh in my kitchen. This Homemade French Bread is no exception, and it’s the best French bread recipe you’ll ever make! 

It’s easy to make with only 6 ingredients! Once you try this French bread you will never be tempted to buy those $2 loves of bread at your local grocery store again. Use it to make homemade croutons or this french toast casserole.

a loaf of french bread with 4 slices cut out of it

French Bread Recipe: Ingredients & Substituions

Here are a few notes on the ingredients in this french bread recipe, as well as some possible substitutions. 

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Homemade French Bread Recipe
  • Warm water. Make sure the water does not exceed 105 degrees F, or it will kill the yeast. 
  • Granulated sugar. honey can be used in place of granulated sugar, if desired. 
  • Active dry yeast. If using instant yeast, decrease the amount to 1 ½  tsp. 
  • Olive oil. Any neutral oil works well in this french bread recipe, if you don’t have olive oil my top two recommendations are canola oil and avocado oil.
  • All-purpose flour. Use unbleached, all-purpose flour or bread flour for the best results. You can substitute up to 1 cup with whole wheat flour, if desired. 
  • Egg (for egg wash). This is optional, so you can skip the egg wash if you have an egg allergy in your family. Note that if you choose to omit the egg wash the bread will  be just as tasty, but not shiny or as golden-brown. 
  • Ice Cubes. The steam from the ice cubes helps crisp up the outside of the french bread! A special trick for perfect homemade french bread. 
a slice of french bread on a plate with butter

How to Make French Bread

Like I said earlier, this recipe is easy to make, but as always we’ll walk through how to make french bread step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video! 

The first step in this french bread recipe is to proof the yeast. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water, sugar and yeast. Let stand until foamy, which takes about 10 minutes. If mixing and kneading by hand, proof the yeast in a large bowl. 

Once the yeast is proofed, add olive oil, sea salt and 1 cup flour to the mixture and stir with the dough hook. Then, add more flour, ½ cup at a time until the dough is smooth and forms a ball on the dough hook.

If mixing by hand, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon as you add the flour until a ball forms. 

Knead for 2-3 minutes either with the dough hook or by hand, until the french bread dough is smooth and elastic. It will be slightly tacky, but will form a ball easily. Then, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape it into a ball.

How to Make French Bread - hands holding dough over a bowl

Next, lightly oil a large bowl, place the french bread dough in the bowl, and cover with a damp tea towel. Let the dough rise for 30-60 minutes until doubled in size.

Form the French Bread Loaf

Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Remove the air from the dough and roll it out into a 12”x 9” rectangle.

Then, roll the dough like a jelly roll, tucking in the ends and pinching the seams and place it on the prepared baking sheet.

Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 shallow diagonal lines down the loaf.

Next, let the dough rise for about 30-60 minutes until it has about doubled in size. 

Bake

If desired, brush egg wash over loaf, then bake the french bread on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Put ice cubes on the bottom of the oven as soon as you put the pan in there and close the door. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice & Serve

Let cool slightly, slice and serve. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy this homemade french bread: 

overhead photo of Homemade French Bread on a baking pan with 4 slices cut

Store

Store any leftover french bread in an airtight container (or plastic bag) at room temperature for up to 3 days for maximum freshness. You can use any leftovers to make these homemade croutons too – so good!

Freeze

Wrap cooled French bread in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature or wrap in foil and thaw in the oven set to warm (about 200 degrees F). 

a loaf of French Bread with 3 slices cut out of it

French Bread Recipe FAQs

How do you make French bread crispy?

Putting ice in the bottom of the oven when you put the loaf of french bread in helps create a crispy outer crust. The egg wash also helps.

How do you reheat bread without it getting hard?

To reheat, wrap the bread in foil and put it in an oven preheated to 300 degrees F for about 5 minutes, or until it’s warmed through. Wrapping it in foil will help lock in the moisture and prevent it from drying out.

What can I do with hard French bread?

I suggest making this french toast casserole – yum!

a loaf of french bread with 4 slices cut out of it, one on a plate with butter

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Homemade French Bread Recipe

Laura
This homemade French bread recipe is easy to make with only 6 ingredients and is so much better than store-bought. Watch the video and follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to make French bread!
5 from 11 votes
Course Appetizer, bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American, French
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 129
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Rising2 hours
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water, sugar and yeast. Let stand until foamy – about 10 minutes. If mixing and kneading by hand, proof the yeast in a large bowl.
  • Add olive oil, sea salt and 1 cup flour, and stir with the dough hook.
  • Add more flour, ½ cup at a time until the dough is smooth and forms a ball on the dough hook. If mixing by hand, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon as you add the flour until a ball forms. 
  • Knead for 2-3 minutes, either with the dough hook or by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be slightly tacky, but it will form a ball easily.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape it into a ball.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover with a damp tea towel.
  • Let the dough rise for 30-60 minutes until doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough into a 12”x 9” rectangle and roll it like a jelly roll, tucking in the ends and pinching the seams. Place the rolled dough on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Take a knife and cut 4-5 shallow diagonal lines down the loaf.
  • Let the dough rise for about 30-60 minutes, until almost doubled.
  • If desired, brush egg wash over loaf.
  • Transfer loaf to the middle rack of the preheated oven and put the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool slightly, slice and serve.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Warm water. Make sure the water does not exceed 105 degrees F, or it will likely kill the yeast. 
  • Granulated sugar. honey can be used in place of granulated sugar, if desired. 
  • Active dry yeast. If using instant yeast, decrease the amount to 1 ½  tsp. 
  • Olive oil. Any neutral oil works well in this french bread recipe, if you don’t have olive oil my top two recommendations are canola oil and avocado oil.
  • All-purpose flour. Use unbleached, all-purpose flour or bread flour for the best results. You can substitute up to 1 cup with whole wheat flour, if desired. 
  • Ice Cubes. The steam from the ice cubes helps crisp up the outside of the french bread! A special trick for perfect homemade french bread. 
Store
Store bread in an airtight container (or plastic bag) at room temperature for up to 3 days. 
Freeze
Wrap cooled bread in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature or wrap in foil and thaw in the oven set to warm (about 200 degrees F). 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m a novice baker trying to try different recipes and this was my first french bread! It came out just like the pictures above. I t was delicious and perfect! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    You’re amazing! Honestly. Everything I make by you is always good. This is the only website I need for cooking and baking haha.

  3. 5 stars
    This is amazing! YOU are amazing! The detailed instructions and the video allowed me to make bread that was – for the first time in MY LIFE of 65 years – worth presenting to my loved ones. I am infamous for dinner rolls that resemble hockey pucks in density and solidity, not to mention loaves of bread that my in-laws used as door stops once I left their house. Seriously. For a person with absolutely no skills in making bread, you have turned my life around.

    1. I’m SO grateful that you took the time to share your review, Nalini! Here’s to many more delicious loaves!

  4. 5 stars
    We did 1 loaf of following the recipe and 1 loaf with garlic butter, basil, and cheese. We all thought it was so good.

  5. 5 stars
    I love your blog! The recipes are easy to make yet delicious and when I look for new ideas that are realistic to make while two toddlers ransack the house, I know I will find a keeper here. I have made white and whole wheat versions of this bread, always as a double batch, and it’s never failed. The kids are demanding pieces as soon as the bread exits the oven. Wonderful as a base for bruschetta, sandwich based dinner, toast as a side for soup or in the French toast casserole recipe. Thanks for being my go-to sanity dinner site!

  6. 5 stars
    3rds time around for this one…..1st cup I used whole wheat…then mix of bread and plain flour…standard go to now…great soft …didn’t egg wash it ..we like it soft