Fabulous French Bread

BreadsFrench BreadSide DishYeast

Just the thought of making French Bread at home intimidated me. I assumed it would take hours upon hours of dough making, kneading, rising, etc. etc. Blah! Who’s got time for dat? I don’t.

Well, the truth is you can have delicious homemade French Bread in just one hour! Yep. One hour. This dough is super easy to make, especially if you do it in your stand-mixer. That fabulous dough hook will do the little kneading that’s required for you! This recipe makes 3 medium-sized loaves of French Bread.

We made sandwiches with the first loaf (so good!) and french bread pizza with the second one (recipe coming tomorrow!) and with the third loaf we randomly sliced us off a piece and spread on some butter and jam. Talk about heaven! *Below the recipe I posted pictures to show the step-by-step of how you form the dough before baking. It’s super easy, but maybe a little hard to understand in writing. So check them out for help, if needed*

Oh, and don’t let the long instructions scare you, this bread is super easy to make!

Fabulous French Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy and amazing French Bread!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening ( I used butter-flavor Crisco)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Fill a glass measuring cup with 1 cup of water. Place in microwave and heat for 3 minutes, or until water is boiling.
  2. In another glass measuring cup, fill it with ⅓ cup warm water. Sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of yeast over the water. With a fork, stir yeast into the water until yeast is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the sugar, salt and shortening into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a fork, mash these ingredients together. Pour the 1 cup of boiling water over the shortening mixture in the stand mixer. Add the 1 cup of cold water into the mixer. Then pour in the yeast/water mixture.
  4. Add 3 cups of flour into the mixer, and using the dough hook, turn mixer on low speed. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Once all 6 cups are in, turn speed to medium and let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be nice and elastic. Be careful not to over-flour. I used all 6 cups, but would not use any more than that.
  5. Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
  6. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray. After the dough has rested in the bowl, dump it onto the greased cookie sheet.
  7. Take a sharp knife, spray it with non-stick spray, and cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Then let it rest again for 5 minutes. (These resting periods for the dough is needed, so please do it and be patient! It’s worth the wait )
  8. To shape the dough before baking: Take one section of dough and spread it out into a rectangle. Just use your fingers, you don’t need a rolling pin. Fold one long end up over half of dough, then fold the other half over that one. Then fold each side up over each other, then turn the loaf over so it is seam side down.
  9. Use your fingers to tuck seams down underneath the loaf and shape it. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough. Once all 3 sections of dough are shaped cut 3 angled ½ inch slits onto the tops of dough.
  10. Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Spread the egg over the tops of each loaf, making sure to get inside the slits.
  11. Place the loaves into the oven and let them rise for about 15 minutes (while the oven is on 170 degrees F.) Then turn oven up to 400 degrees F (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  12. Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and allow them to cool a bit before slicing them.
  13. Enjoy! ♥
Notes
Yields: 3 Loaves
Nutrition Information
Calories: 2823 Fat: 25g Saturated fat: 6g Unsaturated fat: 15g Trans fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 555g Sugar: 27g Sodium: 7187mg Fiber: 22g Protein: 82g Cholesterol: 186mg

 

 Below are step-by-step pictures on how to shape the dough:
 
 


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143 thoughts on “Fabulous French Bread

    1. I couldn’t find where to post a comment, so I’m using a reply feature instead. This bread is wonderful and I thought I messed up big time, but the final result was fantastic! I did everything by your instructions, but my hand mixer could not take it, so as soon I added the last cup of flour, I had to skip the mixing step. I finished mixing it up by hand and not more than a couple of minutes. I didn’t have the needed amount of all purpose flour, but I had plenty of unbleached bread flour and that was what I used. No damage to the recipe at all. I was surprised it didn’t need to raise for about an hour like other bread recipes. I am very happy with this recipe. I wanted to share so people kow that bread flour can be used instead of all purpose flour and if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still mix/knead by hand instead. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

      1. I couldn’t find where to post a comment either, but leaving a reply worked for me too. I found this recipe on Pinterest and am happy to have found your blog too!
        This bread has been absolutely fantastic! I usually make homemade pizza once a week and found that dough hard on my KitchenAid as well.
        I like to try new recipes once in my mixer and if I like the dough, having one “test bake” baseline, I started using the dough cycle on my bread machine. I know many think it’s cheating in some way but with 4 kids, I like to make homemade as much as possible. Working 4 days per week means I’m always out for any time savers possible and I have to say following your recipe exactly (using the full 6 cups of flour) in the bread machine turned out fabulous!!! I have the 3 pound machine with the double paddles. Even my father in law, who has an outdoor, wood burning brick oven and makes a lot of homemade bread was impressed!!
        Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!

      2. I couldnt find where to comment either, but this bread is amazing!! I made it and used it to dip in olive oil with seasoning and ate half the loaf on my own before my husband even came home!! I have a loaf in my freezer now, hoping it thaws out and tastes just as good as it did today! Ive tried many bread recipes that have been a total flop, but followed this one to a T and it worked beautifully

  1. Just finished making some! It really is fabulous. 🙂 It did take me closer to 90 minutes from start to finish, but well worth it. I now must go spread a slice with some homemade strawberry jam to have with my coffee. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Hi! Just made the bread. Never buying store bought again. Have you tried storing them for later use? If yes, what worked?
    Thanks

    1. Tina, so glad you loved the bread! These freeze really well. Once loaves have cooled down to room temperature, wrap them in plastic wrap and then place in a ziplock freezer bag. Store up to 3 months in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, let them sit out to room temperature. 🙂

  3. I used 4 cups of bread flour and 2 cups all purpose. I think I must have added too much flour, because after I folded the loaves they didn’t melt down into one big loaf…they stayed folded. They are in the oven now, so I guess we will see what happens!

    1. Nicole, I’ve only used all-purpose flour with this recipe so not sure how the bread flour would affect it… and I also used all 6 cups and it turns out awesome! Hope yours turns out, too! 🙂

    2. Bread flour is way too high protein for this recipe, it sucks up the water and leaves you with the bread that turns out like a rock. There are plenty of French bread recipes that use bread flour but this is not one of them. The opposite would happen if you made sandwich bread with all purpose flour, there wouldn’t be enough protein and everything would turn into a gloopy mess. I was honestly shocked with this bread since I always bloom my yeast and use bread flour, but I trusted the recipe and it’s perfect. Only difference was I used about 1/2 cup less flour since I live in very high altitudes.

  4. First, love your blog! My husband and I are loving trying out your recipes. Secondly, in my recent move I seem to have lost my dough hook for my mixer 🙁 can I make this without it, by just folding in the flour old fashion style?

  5. This bread is amazing. Unbelievably simple and so delicious. I got home from work at 3:30, had soup in the crockpot and at 4:00 decided to make this bread again. It’s rising in the oven now and will be ready for dinner in 30 minutes.

  6. Made 3 batches of this today. We ate a whole loaf for lunch and I’m taking the other 8 loaves for a school luncheon tomorrow. My family is mad, lol. I may have to make up another batch tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I just made this today and I think I’ve found my new go-to bread recipe! It is so good! I made meatballs today, too, and I think we’re going to use one of these loaves for open-face style subs. I love how soft the bread it, but with a nice chew to it. Thank you for the recipe!

  8. All I have is a Cuisinart Hand mixer with dough hooks and a food processor… would either of those appliances work ok? This recipe looks so good and easy too! I get very intimidate by yeast bread.. I think it’s the kneading part of most recipes lol

  9. I loved the flavor, but it was incredibly chewy even after I sliced it and baked it for about another 10 minutes to make garlic toast. Maybe I did something wrong, I don’t know, but for all the great reviews and beautiful loaves it was sort of ho-hum for me.

    1. There is a chance that it was kneaded too much, which can result in elastic bread. Not really a problem with a good pizza crust but for this, over kneading can make it tough. There is also a chance your water wasn’t cold enough, which means the hot water geletainised some of the starches in the bread and made it chewy.

  10. This recipe is absolutely awesome – made it today using 4 cups all purpose flour (all I had on hand) plus 2 cups bread flour and it turned out beautiful. Thanks you so much for this recipe – I’ll be making this really often!!

    1. Jen, I have never froze this dough, BUT I would imagine you could freeze it after you’ve shaped the loaves. I would wrap them in saran wrap and then in freezer bags. Let dough thaw and rise to room temp before baking 🙂

  11. Holly Hi, i have a bunch in the oven!! They are turning so beautiful!!
    have u ever tried to put some tarragon or oregano or something else???

    Thanks so much!!

    Rocio

    Lima Peru

  12. I tried this bread recipe with the only change, substituting butter for shortening. My yeast was fresh but this bread didn’t rise and was very dense and tough. Since I followed the recipe as written, how did this happen?

    1. I think measuring the flour is key with any bread recipe. Maybe you over floured it? I’m not sure, so sorry. I’ve made this bread several times, just as written, and haven’t had that problem.

    2. If the water was still hot when you added the yeast (not adding the cold water first) you could have killed off a lot of the yeast accidentally. I’ve done the same before, just treat your yeast like a baby. You wouldn’t put it in frigid temperatures nor would you try to scald it.

  13. Hi I made this french loaf useing 4c all purpose flour and 2c bread flour I didnt have shortning so I used butter. I also added 1Tbl of italian season omg my kitchen smells so good. I am hopeing it turns out I don’t have much luck when it comes to making breads. Something always goes wrong.

  14. This was quick and delicious! I love the trick with spraying the knife and then cutting the dough, super easy! Now I just need to work on my folding technique. Thanks again for the recipe!

  15. going to try making this bread tomorrow morning but was wondering if you need to put a pan of water in the oven along with the bread to make the crust crispy ??

  16. I just made this. I used six cups of AA flour, but the dough was sticky and didn’t hold its shape after forming it. Next time I will add a little more flour if needed. I used butter so maybe that is why. Great taste and texture. I can’t wait to try it again!

  17. This was my first time making bread, and it turned out amazing!! And it was so easy! Thanks so much for being so detailed in your recipe, made it easy for a beginner like me

  18. Loved this bread! Used butter instead of shortening, worked perfect. The bread was a huge hit with my friends and family. And I LOVE the short rise times compared to my usual French bread. This will now be my go-to French bread. Thanks!

  19. Holly I want to just say thank you very much for sharing this recipe!!! My family loved it,plus it complemented my Red Beans and Rice so well. Fun to make as well. People who might read this need to know this is a fool proof recipe. Again thank you!!!!

  20. Delicious! I just made this recipe and I am in love! It was easy to follow and tastes so good! I did make one change, I put flax seed in my last cup of flour (4 tablespoons), it gives a bit of a nutty flavor and makes it look a little more rustic. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  21. I just made this bread, (without a mixer). I hand kneaded the dough until it was elastic. It was a BIG hit with my kids… I ended up putting about 1tbsp of wheat gluten in the bread (for longevity). IT WAS GREAT! My kids ate it up.

  22. Hello. I am intrigued to try this recipe and you have many great reviews. Kudos. Was curious if anyone had tried doing the dough in a bread machine. I have never had success with the pre-yeast in water recipes, but would like to see what I can do with what I do well with. Thanks for any suggestions.

  23. I made this bread tonight for our dinner, and hubby and I were very, very happy with the results! I’ll definitely be making this bread again and again!!! Besides the great taste and texture, I am really loving the fact that I can have, not one, but THREE loaves of fresh bread all at the same time! A big plus for sure, especially when having a big family dinner get-together!!

  24. Hi…soI was dying to make this but I don’t have a stand mixer..I used my food processor to mix and kneed it looked ok..butttt it didn’t really rise and stayed folded..any idea why? In the processor you can only mix for 1 min before the dough is a ball..maybe not long enough on the kneeding?

  25. Have always been intimidated by yeast breads but this recipe is wonderfully easy. Directions and pictures really helped.

  26. I have made this twice and my family devoured it. My only problem is that it isn’t rising up but spreads out when cooking so I get a very wide loaf about an inch high. I thought maybe my yeast was old so I bought new–the second time it still went wide but made it about 2 inch high. I have measured the flour, set timer for rise times. Any other suggestions? I have used all 6 cups of flour but dough still seems sticky.. When I cut the lines in top it all just grows back together. Help!

  27. Does cutting the tops of the loaves serve any purpose or is is merely decorative? I’m going to make this today. Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

  28. Do the cuts made on the top serve a purpose or are the merely decorative? I’m making this today. Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

  29. All right, they just came out of the oven and they don’t exactly look like yours LOL. First of all, the dough was pretty sticky and a little difficult to work with, but I used all six cups of flour and followed your advice not to add more. They looked fine when they first went into the oven, but by the time they raised, the loaves sort of tilted over so the slits are on the sides rather than on top. They are also flatter than yours, but other than that, they look pretty good. I guess I need a little more practice – I’m used to making regular white bread in a bread pan.

    1. I would dissolve the sugar in the warm water and then add the yeast to bloom, this may help with rising. Also, you may need to monitor the amount of flour based on the amount of himidity on the day you bake.

  30. I kneaded it for 6 min. it was stickier than the pics and after baking, too dense. What did I do wrong? Did it need to knead longer?

  31. Does this recipe multiply well? I work at a resort center and need to make enough loaves for 30 people and didn’t have time to try multiplying it before everyone came. I did get a chance to make a batch last week which turned out amazing and really hope to make it for dinner tomorrow 🙂

  32. Not sure why but my bread was incredibly salty. Is it really supposed to be a tablespoon salt? Read the comments didn’t see anyone else complain. Really hate when I waste ingredients.

  33. Just wondering when you turn the oven up to 400 do you start the 15-20 minute cooking when it reaches that temp? And the pre heat is just extra?

  34. fantastic recipe! My family loved it! The bread filled my entire home with the smell of fresh baked bread, nothing better than that on a cold winter day. Thank You!

  35. I absolutely loved this recipe this was my first time baking anything with yeast so I love how you made it so easy with the pictures and everything. Everyone is loving this bread the only question I have (being inexperienced and all) is can you double this recipe?

  36. Did you use quick rise yeaset or just regular active dry yeast? I used regualar both time and mine did not rise like yours. It only raised half the size of yours.

  37. Just tried this and it turned out amazingly delicious! Accidentally had oven on too high for the start, so burned the bottom but it still tasted amazing and wonderful!!

  38. This bread truly is fabulous! I made this after work today and had fresh, delicious bread in 2 hours. Your directions and pictures are so helpful. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  39. Is active dry yeast the same thing as quick rise yeast? That’s what I used. Also I do not have a mixer so mixed by hand. They are in the oven now so I guess we will see if they work.

  40. I have made this so many times…. and it’s always delicious! I have used various combinations of flours and fats, and it comes out amazing every time! Whole wheat, bread flour, white whole wheat… and coconut oil, butter, and crisco. I use whatever I have and this recipe is always delicious! SO SIMPLE! I don’t have a stand mixer… I do it all by hand in my big pyrex bowl. THANK YOU!!!

  41. This looks great (it’s not a French bread though, as the typical French baguette, or loaf in France do not include egg or fat). 😉

  42. Have made this numerous times and it has always turned out really well. I am so happy to have found this recipe and have passed it on to all of my friends and to my family. Thank you so much for a wonderful and easy recipe!!!

  43. Hi. Followed the directions exact. Not sure what did wrong bread didn’t rise like it should have. The dougj was super sticky when i turned it out. Now i have kind of flat loaves baking. Any ideas ?

    1. Me too!! I rarely mess up a recipe but the dough was super sticky and flattened out like a pancake. I tried adding more flour but this didn’t work. Prior to that I had followed the directions to a T!

      1. Is your yeast old? My mom’s made homemade bread for as long as I can remember, and whenever the loaves don’t rise like they should, it’s the signal to replace the yeast.

  44. Honestly shocked. I’ve always made bread very traditionally by blooming my yeast first and always using bread flour, so naturally this startled me. But with the reviews and trusting you, I went for it since my usual French bread recipe would have taken too long. These came out amazing and I now have two extra ones for tomorrow’s lunches. These may even be a little better than my usual recipe. I was scared since the last time I tried using all purpose flour in bread, it came out like flour paste and was crumbly after it baked (And that was only substituting half of the flour!) but really, no disappointment here.

  45. I made this recipe today. Substituted avocado oil. I found the dough to be sticky and it tended to spread out although it did rise. That being said, it tastes awesome, crispy chewy crust and soft texture on the inside, we love it and will definitely be using this recipe often

  46. The first time I made it I used regular yeast and it didn’t work, it stayed folded up and hard and didn’t raise well. Ever since then I’ve used instant yeast and shaped my dough into the loaves with my hands instead of doing the folding thing and it turns out amazing and yummy. I cooked it on my smoker yesterday for a contest. We’ll see how I do.

  47. Hello, my recipe that shows up is slightly cut off on the right side. I was wondering what the oven temperature is supposed to go to after 170

  48. Love the end result but with the recipe constantly jumping around to accommodate advertising I had to keep trying to find my place and reread over and over. Very frustrating. Will write it out for future use as it’s now my new favorite French bread

  49. Can this recipe be adapted for a bread machine that calls for all liquids first, and then dry ingredients with a small well to hold the yeast???? (Dough cycle)

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