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A loaf of homemade French bread stacked on top of another loaf.
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5 from 41 votes

Homemade French Bread

Who doesn't love a good, chewy loaf of soft french bread?  I can hardly resist a warm slice of bread, slathered in butter, or an entire loaf cut in half and smeared with a garlic butter spread then broiled to make the best garlic bread ever.  Learn how to make french bread at home with this best ever, easy Homemade French Bread recipe!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Rising Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: French
Servings: 20 slices
Calories: 131kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups warm water around 110 degrees F
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (olive oil or canola oil also work)
  • 5 ½-6 cups all-purpose or bread flour, scooped & leveled (776 to 846g)
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water
  • Melted salted butter for brushing on top of the baked loaves (optional)

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast and let the yeast proof for 5 minutes until foamy (unless using instant yeast, in which case just skip this step and add it with everything in the next step).
  • Add the salt, oil, and 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Mix for 1-2 minutes, just until it starts to combine. Add in the remaining flour about half a cup at a time while the mixer is running on low speed, just until the dough forms into a ball that starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and is tacky to the touch. Continue to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until smooth, adding a little more flour if the dough starts to stick to the sides of the bowl again. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.  
  • When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a clean counter that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and divide the dough into two equal sections. Working with one half of the dough at a time, pat it into a large rectangle, roughly 9x13-inches.  
  • Roll the dough up starting from the long edges into a tight cylinder, turning the ends under and pinching the edges together to seal. Place seam side down on a perforated French bread pan or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough to form the second loaf.
  • Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray and let them rise for another 30 minutes, until nearly doubled again in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F while the loaves are rising. Just before putting the loaves in the oven, brush with egg wash, if using, and cut several gashes on an angle about 2-inches apart along the top of each loaf using a very sharp knife or baker's lame.
  • Transfer the loaves to the oven and toss 3-4 ice cubes onto the bottom of the oven floor and immediately close the oven door.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Brush loaves with melted butter after removing from the oven for a softer crust, if desired.

Notes

  • Storage: This bread is best when enjoyed fresh, but it will keep well for 2-3 days on the counter wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in a Ziploc bag or up to 1 week in the fridge.
  • Freezing: You can freeze loaves of baked French bread wrapped tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and stored in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or wrapped in aluminum foil for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before slicing and enjoying.
  • Salt: You could replace the table salt with 1 Tablespoon of coarse kosher salt.
  • Flour: The type of flour used will give slightly different results. All-purpose flour will result in a lighter bread, but bread flour will give a chewier texture. Both are excellent and you can always use half-and-half if you like.
  • Rising: Yeast breads rise best in warm rooms, which can be tricky if the weather is cold. My favorite spots for letting my bread rise are on top of my stove or by a window if there is sunshine. You can also heat your oven for 10 minutes to 200°F, then turn it off and stick your bread in there to rise with the door cracked, if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg