The Best French Bread

Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by Michele Tripple

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Looking for an incredible French bread recipe? Look no further! This easy-to-make recipe is so simple and delicious you’ll want to have it every day!

French Bread

What’s better than freshly baked bread straight from the oven? Nothing, that’s what. And you can enjoy French bread in so many different ways. Smother it in butter or this melted lemon garlic butter and eat it as a snack. Or make a foot-long meat sandwich for your next picnic. We recommend serving it as a side with this incredible southwest chicken corn chowder as well. It’s the perfect combination on a cold or rainy day! 

Have leftover bread and need a quick and easy recipe? Don’t forget about our amazing instant pot potato soup – another perfect pair with this already perfect bread!

No matter how you enjoy this classic bread, it is sure to become a family favorite!

French Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Rest Time: 20 minutes

Rise Time: about 2 hours 30 minutes

Bake Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast (1 pkg is approximately 2 ¼ tsp yeast)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 large egg white
  • ½ cup cornmeal

The Following Tools Will Be Helpful When Making These!

Wire Rack

Wisk

Large Mixing Bowl

Proofing Cloth

Rolling Pin

Large Baking Sheet

Pastry Brush

How to Make French Bread

  • Combine 2 packages of active dry yeast and 1 tsp of granulated white sugar in a ½ cup of warm water. Set aside until foamy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine 1 Tbsp salt and 2 cups of lukewarm water. Beat in 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.
  • Blend in the yeast mixture and stir in 4-4 ½ cups of flour (enough to make a soft dough).
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 7-10 minutes). Work in the remaining cup of flour.
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once.
  • Cover and let the dough rise until about doubled in size (approximately 1-1 ½ hours).
  • Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide the dough in half.
  • Cover dough and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Roll each portion, forming a 15 x 12 inch rectangle. Roll tightly beginning at the long end and sealing well. Taper the ends.
  • Place each loaf, seam side down on a greased and cornstarch-sprinkled baking sheet.
  • What a very sharp knife, slash the tops ever 2 ½ inches and about ¼ inch deep.
  • Beat one egg white until just foamy and mix in 1 Tbsp water.
  • Brush the egg white mixture onto the tops and sides of the loaves. Set the rest of the egg white mixture aside for later use.
  • Cover with a damp cloth, making sure not to touch the loaves (drape cloth over inverted glasses). Let rise until double, about 1 ½ hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit as the bread reaches the end of the proofing time.
  • Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until light brown.
  • Baste the loaves again with the egg white mixture and then back for another 20 minutes. If loaves are starting to brown too much, cover loosely with foil.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack.

Tips Tricks and FAQs

  • Make sure you follow the steps exactly! Do not add salt directly into yeast mixture as this can kill the yeast. Make sure salt is incorporated into the water and salt mixture before combining with yeast mix.
  • Don’t skimp on the proofing! I know the temptation to cut the rising time of the dough is real. But doing so could dramatically change the texture and size of your bread – and we don’t want that! Make sure you let the dough rest as indicated and take full advantage of the proofing times given (or at least until the dough is doubled in size!). 
  • This bread is so versatile! So get creative with how you eat it. It’s the perfect complement to a variety of dips and soups. Plus it makes some of the BEST meat and cheese sandwiches. Yum!

Storage

To store your French bread, make sure it is fully cooled and then place it in a plastic bag or breadbox. You may also wrap it in foil. Either way, store it at room temperature where it should keep for 2-3 days. 

Can I Freeze Baked Loaves?

Yes! Freezing uneaten bread is a great way to make sure it doesn’t go to waste! Simply wrap the cooled bread (either sliced or whole) in plastic freezer wrap or aluminum foil and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, simply remove bread from the freezer and allow it to thaw to room temperature.

Love bread? Try these other amazing recipes! 

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Homemade Yeast Bread

Garlic Parmesan Rolls

Yield: 2 loaves

The Best French Bread

French Bread

Looking for an incredible French bread recipe? Look no further! This easy-to-make recipe is so simple and delicious you’ll want to have it every day!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast (1 pkg is approximately 2 ¼ tsp yeast)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 large egg white

Instructions

    1. Combine 2 packages of active dry yeast and 1 tsp of granulated white sugar in a ½ cup of warm water. Set aside until foamy.
    2. In a separate bowl, combine 1 Tbsp salt and 2 cups of lukewarm water. Beat in 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.
      Blend in the yeast mixture and stir in 4-4 ½ cups of flour (enough to make a soft dough).
    3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
      Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 7-10 minutes). Work in the remaining cup of flour.
    4. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once.
    5. Cover and let the dough rise until about doubled in size (approximately 1-1 ½ hours).
    6. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
      Divide the dough in half.
    7. Cover dough and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
    8. Roll each portion, forming a 15 x 12 inch rectangle. Roll tightly beginning at the long end and sealing well. Taper the ends.
    9. Place each loaf, seam side down on a greased and cornstarch-sprinkled baking sheet.
    10. What a very sharp knife, slash the tops ever 2 ½ inches and about ¼ inch deep.
    11. Beat one egg white until just foamy and mix in 1 Tbsp water.
    12. Brush the egg white mixture onto the tops and sides of the loaves. Set the rest of the egg white mixture aside for later use.
    13. Cover with a damp cloth, making sure not to touch the loaves (drape cloth over inverted glasses). Let rise until double, about 1 ½ hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit as the bread reaches the end of the proofing time.
    14. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until light brown.
    15. Baste the loaves again with the egg white mixture and then back for another 20 minutes. If loaves are starting to brown too much, cover loosely with foil.
      Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack.

Notes

    • Make sure you follow the steps exactly! Do not add salt directly into yeast mixture as this can kill the yeast. Make sure salt is incorporated into the water and salt mixture before combining with yeast mix.
    • Don’t skimp on the proofing! I know the temptation to cut the rising time of the dough is real. But doing so could dramatically change the texture and size of your bread - and we don’t want that! Make sure you let the dough rest as indicated and take full advantage of the proofing times given (or at least until the dough is doubled in size!).
    • This bread is so versatile! So get creative with how you eat it. It’s the perfect complement to a variety of dips and soups. Plus it makes some of the BEST meat and cheese sandwiches. Yum!

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