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two loaves of french bread in a basket.

Homemade French Bread Recipe

  • Author: Mindee
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Loaves 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

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!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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).
  2. Let stand about 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. Mix in the oil, salt, and flour using a dough hook.
  4. 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).
  5. Cover dough with a dish towel and set in a warm place.
  6. 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.
  7. After that hour let the dough rise until doubled. This will take about 30 minutes.
  8. Dump dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half.
  9. Shape each half into a long loaf pinching the seams shut.  Each loaf should end up about 12 inches long.
  10. Place each loaf on a french bread pan or on a lightly greased baking sheet or french bread pan.
  11. Cover the french bread loaves and set in a warm place to rise until doubled. 
  12. Cover to let rise until doubled.
  13. While the loaves are rising, place an empty aluminum (never glass) baking sheet on the very bottom rack of your oven.
  14. Make sure the other rack is in the center of your oven.
  15. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  16. Slash each loaf before baking.
  17. 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.
  18. This creates steam that sets that crusty, chewy crust you want.
  19. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
  20. Loaves should be golden brown and sound hollow when thumped.
  21. Cool at least ten minutes before eating.

Notes

  • 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