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This French bread recipe is absolutely delicious! And, you won’t believe how easy it is to make your own baguette or loaf right at home. Not only is it easy, but it will leave your house smelling just like a professional bakery. I have to warn you, though, that once you make this homemade bread, you won’t be able to stop.
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS POST
I’ve made this French bread recipe many times. Each time, though, I feel like I learn more about the process.
One of the best things about making your own bread is that you know exactly what’s in it. No preservatives or chemicals. In fact, the only ingredients are yeast, water, oil, flour, a little sugar, and salt.
I make this French bread recipe right in my Kitchenaid stand mixer.
Initially, I used my steam oven and the pans shown below to bake my bread since I didn’t have a French bread baking pan.
I tried finding French bread pans that would be short enough to go into my convection steam oven but wasn’t able to. So, now I bake my loaves in a French bread baking pan (the pans I use are linked) in the regular oven.
Love French Bread? Try my Sourdough French Bread recipe!
How to Make Easy French Bread
Use filtered water warmed in a microwave for about 1 minute. The temperature should be about 95ºF to 100ºF degrees (baby bottle warm).
Mix the water, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
Even if using instant yeast, take this step to make sure your yeast is fresh and active. This is how it should look after 5-10 minutes.
After mixing all the flour (usually 5 cups), attach the kneading hook and knead the dough well. When the dough pulls from the wall of the bowl and has a smooth appearance, it’s ready for the first rise.
This takes at least 5 minutes.
Wondering if you have kneaded the dough enough?
Grab a handful of dough and stretch it. The properly kneaded dough should stretch several inches without tearing.
The dough should be smooth, like the inside of your cheek.
If the dough meets these tests, you are ready to let the dough rise.
Cover the bowl with a towel or dinner plate for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
After the first rising, punch the dough down a few times and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface.
Cut the dough in half, in two equal portions. Roll each half into a long, thin loaf. Place it in your baking pan and make three slits in the dough. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Brush with a mixture of egg whites and water before placing in the oven.
Bake until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
How easy was that? Once you start making this bread, you won’t want to stop. It’s just so good and easy to make.
Homemade French Bread Recipe
Easy French Bread
- 2 cups water
- 4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 5 – 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with the sugar. Wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate and bubble up.
- Add oil and salt to yeast mixture. Mix well. Add flour, one cup at a time, kneading well in between. Knead until smooth and elastic. If you are using a mixer, the dough will pull away from the walls of the bowl and look like a ball. Don’t add too much flour or the dough will become dry.
- Cover the dough with a dish towel or inverted plate and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
- Punch dough down and recover. Let rise again for 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from bowl and place onto countertop lightly dusted with flour. Divide dough in half and gently roll each half into a long skinny loaf. Carefully lay the loaf onto a french bread pan or cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. With a sharp knife, make 3-4 slashes diagonally on each loaf.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise a third time, for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly brush loaves with a mixture of egg white and 1 tsp of water. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.