Easy Homemade French Bread

Learn how to make bakery-style French Bread from the comfort of your home! This soft homemade bread is SO easy and can be used in so many meals, appetizers, and snacks!

Love making bread? Try My Homemade Brioche too! It’s SO good!

Slices of French bread on a cutting board.

The Best French Bread

When it comes to baking bread, you don’t have to be an experienced baker! Of course I most often make a quick bread, like my famous banana bread, but, recently I decided to switch it up with some Homemade French Bread, and boy am I glad that I did!

These fresh loaves of chewy French bread are completely addicting. I know the sugar content of the recipe is generally a little higher when I make statements like that, but it holds true here too. The crust/exterior of this homemade baguette is the perfect level of crispy, and the inside is pillowy-soft. Words cannot describe, my friends.

Making your own French bread sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually super easy. (And here I’ve been going to the store weekend after weekend!) So, if you’re a first-time bread-maker, no worries. The process is really simple and totally within your grasp!

Two loaves of French bread on a cooling rack.

What Makes This Recipe Work

Simplicity is the key to success here. Keeping it simple means less work for you, and more time to do whatever else you need to get done today! This French bread is made with only 6 ingredients, and you can have the bread in and out of the oven and cooling on the counter within a couple of hours. What’s more, you probably already have everything you need for homemade French bread in your pantry, which is always a plus.

What You’ll Need

Alright, let’s talk real quick about those 6 ingredients! Here’s what you’re going to need to round up:

  • Warm Water: Make sure that the temperature is somewhere between 110°F – 120°F.
  • Sugar: Just regular-old granulated sugar is perfect for this recipe.
  • Yeast: Active dry yeast will help your loaves of bread rise up nice and tall. You can also use Instant Yeast (Rapid Rise Yeast) which will only require one rise, not two!
  • Flour: You can use any kind of bread flour that you like for this French bread. You will use about 6 cups flour in this recipe.
  • Salt: I like to use kosher salt in my bread. One tablespoon of salt might seem like a lot, but it’s really the only flavor addition to the bread and without it it’d be very bland.
  • Canola Oil: You can also use olive oil or vegetable oil as a substitution if needed.

Do You Have To Use Bread Flour?

The recipe will work with all purpose flour, but you won’t get that chewy bread texture unless you use bread flour. Bread flour has a higher protein content (usually 11% – 13%). The protein in the flour is what produces lots of gluten, which is what gives you that chewy bread texture. Bread flour can be found in white and whole wheat varieties.

How to Make French Bread

Like I mentioned above, making your own French bread is no sweat. And you don’t even need a bread maker to do it! The process breaks down into four basic parts: forming the dough, letting it rise, shaping it into loaves, and baking. Here’s the more detailed description:

Dissolve the Yeast: Add the water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or mixing bowl if doing by hand). Allow the yeast to dissolve and become foamy, approximately 5 minutes.

Form the Dough: Add in the flour, salt, and oil. Turn the mixer to low and mix for 30 seconds to combine the ingredients. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix for 8-10 minutes total, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Let the Dough Rise: Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel. Place the bowl in a draft-free, warm place to rise for 1-2 hours, or doubled in size. My oven has a “proof” setting that works amazingly well for yeast bread recipes. Alternately you can allow the dough to rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator.

Form the Loaves: Once the dough has risen, sprinkle some flour onto a clean counter and place the dough onto the lightly floured surface. Divide the bread dough in half and roll into a 12-inch long log. No rolling pin needed! You could certainly make more smaller loaves. Just note the bake time will be decreased. Place the dough into a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet (or a french bread pan). Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for an additional 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the Oven to 375°F: Then, when the dough has risen, use a sharp knife to cut slits into the top of the dough.

Bake: Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bread is golden brown.

Getting That Golden Crust

The best part of French bread? The crispy golden-brown crust of course! A really easy way to ensure that you get a perfectly golden crust on your bread is to use some egg wash. Before you put your bread in the oven, whip together an egg and some water and lightly brush this mixture on top of the loaves. Then bake, and prepare to be excited.

Tips for Success

I’ve got a couple more tips to share with you before you get started, if you don’t mind. Here are a couple of other important French-bread-making tricks:

  • Can I Make This Bread Ahead? Yes! In fact, I like to make this bread ahead and reheat it right before serving. To do this, preheat the oven to 375° and bake for 5-7 minutes to lightly toast the outside. This gives the bread a crusty exterior with a soft, warm center.
  • How to Know When the Bread is Done: The exterior should be a golden-brown as mentioned above, but also, when the crust is tapped it should sound hollow.
  • Do I Need a Stand Mixer? No, you can stir and mix the dough together by hand. It’ll take a while longer, but you’ll get a good workout in! Stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and then knead on a floured surface with your hands.
  • Where Should I Let the Dough Rise? In front of a window is a good place, as is near the preheating stove. 
  • Can I Mix in Some Whole Wheat Flour? Sure. I don’t recommend completely substituting the bread flour with whole wheat flour, but an even mix of the two should turn out well.
A loaf of French bread being sliced.

Ways to Use Your Bread

You can use/serve French bread in so many ways! These are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Make French Bread Pizza: And add your own toppings! This dinner is always a hit with the kiddos.
  • Serve with Soup: Butter up a slice of toasted French bread and dunk it in your favorite soup.
  • Make Garlic Bread: Or homemade cheesy breadsticks… it’s up to you!
  • For Sandwiches: This is probably the number one way we consumer French bread in my house.
  • For Toast: Pile on the honey, butter, and/or jelly and jam!
  • Make Croutons: All you need are a few seasonings and some olive oil and you’re good to go!
Slices from a loaf of French bread.

How to Store French Bread

I usually store this French bread in a tightly-sealed Ziploc bag for a couple of days at room temperature. You could also wrap it in plastic wrap instead, if you like.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes! Store your French bread in the freezer in an airtight container (or a few tight layers of plastic wrap). It should keep for about 3 months this way.

Here Are Some More Easy Bread Recipes:

Print

Easy Homemade French Bread

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield Yield: 2 loaves 1x
  • Category Category: Bread
  • Method Method: Oven
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

Learn how to make bakery-style French Bread from the comfort of your home! This soft homemade bread is SO easy and can be used in so many meals, appetizers, and snacks!


Scale

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110°F – 120°F)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Instructions

  1. Add the water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Allow the yeast to dissolve and become foamy, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the flour, salt, and oil. Turn the mixer to low to mix for 30 seconds to combine the ingredients. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix for 8 – 10 minutes total, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 – 2 hours, or doubled in size.
  4. Once the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and roll into a 12- inch long log. Place the dough into a greased or parchment lined baking sheet (or a french bread pan). Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for an additional 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. When the dough has risen use a sharp knife to cut slits into the top of the dough.
  7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and when the crust is tapped it sounds hollow.

Notes:

  • Can I Make This Bread Ahead? Yes! In fact, I like to make this bread ahead and reheat it right before serving. To do this, preheat the oven to 375° and bake for 5-7 minutes to lightly toast the outside. This gives the bread a crusty exterior with a soft, warm center.
  • How to Know When the Bread is Done: The exterior should be a golden-brown as mentioned above, but also, when the crust is tapped it should sound hollow.
  • Do I Need a Stand Mixer? No, you can mix the dough together by hand. It’ll take a while longer, but you’ll get a good workout in!
  • Where Should I Let the Dough Rise? In front of a window is a good place, as is near the preheating stove.
  • Can I Mix in Some Whole Wheat Flour? Sure. I don’t recommend completely substituting the bread flour with whole wheat flour, but an even mix of the two should turn out well.
  • Storage: I usually store this French bread in a tightly-sealed Ziploc bag for a couple of days at room temperature. 

Keywords: french baguette, how to make french bread, homemade baguette

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Cindy
October 21, 2021 7:41 pm

While this bread looks great as is, do you think this would work for French bread pizza?

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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