Wish you could make a classic loaf of crusty French bread at home? You can! And it's actually pretty easy. Follow my step by step instructions with pictures and enjoy a hot loaf of this soft bread with a crusty crust from your own kitchen!
- 2 1/2 cups Warm Water
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 2 Tbs Active Dry Yeast
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 3 tsp Salt
- 6 cups All Purpose Flour
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. (You can make this bread by hand too, it will just take some muscle).
- Let stand about 5 minutes until foamy.
- Mix in the oil, salt, and flour using a dough hook.
- Once all the flour is mixed in, and it may take a minute to work all the flour in, knead at a medium speed for 5 minutes (10 minutes by hand).
- Cover dough with a dish towel and set in a warm place.
- Over the next hour, knead the dough about 3 times approximately every 10 minutes. It doesn't have to be exactly every 10 minutes, just make sure to have kneaded the dough at least 4 times over the next hour.
- After that hour let the dough rise until doubled. This will take about 30 minutes.
- Dump dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half.
- Shape each half into a long loaf pinching the seams shut. Each loaf should end up about 12 inches long.
- Place each loaf on a french bread pan or on a lightly greased baking sheet or french bread pan.
- Cover the french bread loaves and set in a warm place to rise until doubled.
- Cover to let rise until doubled.
- While the loaves are rising, place an empty aluminum (never glass) baking sheet on the very bottom rack of your oven.
- Make sure the other rack is in the center of your oven.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Slash each loaf before baking.
- After placing the bread on the center oven rack to bake, before closing the oven door, throw a 1/2 cup of water onto the now super hot baking sheet you placed on the bottom oven rack and quickly close the oven door.
- This creates steam that sets that crusty, chewy crust you want.
- Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
- Loaves should be golden brown and sound hollow when thumped.
- Cool at least ten minutes before eating.
- I use a 6 quart stand mixer to make this bread, but you can make it by hand as well.
- Click HERE to see how to make Bread Bowls with this recipe.
Keywords: french bread, crusty french bread, homemade french bread, soft french bread