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Making homemade French bread is a game-changer! Golden on the outside and supremely soft and tender on the inside, it will complement any meal perfectly!

I love making bread at home because it’s so fresh, delicious, and free of preservatives. Homemade sourdough, challah, and this French baguette are a few more tasty bread recipes to add to your baking lineup.

Sliced French bread on parchment paper.

Delicious Homemade French Bread Recipe

There are few things in life better than a freshly-baked loaf of bread. French bread is one of my favorite types of homemade bread to make because it’s soft and thick with the perfect chew. It’s great for serving alongside dinner and even better for dipping! French bread and olive oil bread dip are one of my all-time favorite appetizer combos. It’s so simple but satisfying!

This homemade French bread recipe is a staple that you’ll want to come back to again and again. It’s straightforward to make and something both seasoned and beginner bakers will have success with! With a little patience and a lot of love, you’ll be able to make a loaf of bread unrivaled by your favorite bakery! Just be warned- making homemade French bread from scratch is super addictive and you’ll want to do it all the time. Good news! I’ve got a full list of easy and delicious bread recipes waiting for you here.

French Bread Ingredients

One of the reasons I love making homemade French bread so much is the fact that it uses such simple baking ingredients. Check out the recipe card below for exact measurements!

  • Warm Water: Used to activate the yeast.
  • Dry Active Yeast: This will give your bread that perfect rise. Keep in mind, it needs plenty of time to activate
  • Granulated Sugar: Added to the yeast mixture to help activate it.
  • Salt: Keeps your bread from tasting bland.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Gives your french bread the perfect light and airy structure.
  • Olive Oil: Helps your bread to have a softer, more tender crumb.
  • Melted Butter: Softens the crust of the homemade French bread and adds a pop of rich flavor.

How to Make French Bread at Home

Don’t let the amount of steps fool you. Making homemade French bread is actually pretty simple! You just have to allow it plenty of time to rise so that your loaf ends up light and fluffy.

Preparing Your Dough:

  1. Activate Yeast: Add the water, yeast, and sugar to the bowl of a mixer and mix with a fork to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is nice and frothy.
  2. Add Flour and Salt: Add the salt and 4 cups of flour to the bowl. Mix on low to medium-low speed with the paddle attachment until combined. It will be pretty wet at this point. Add the remaining cup of flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough is soft and pliable but not sticky.
  3. Knead: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes by hand until smooth. Pour the olive oil into a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat the entire thing with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  4. Proof: Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour at room temperature. You can speed up this process by setting the oven to warm or the lowest heat, typically 170 degrees F. Place the covered bowl in the oven and drop a couple of ice cubes on the bottom of the oven to create moisture. Check the dough for your homemade French bread after 20-25 minutes.
  5. Shape: Once doubled, split the dough into two equal portions. Roll each half into a rectangle about 9×15 inches, though it doesn’t have to be exact. Roll the dough up the long side and pinch along the seam and ends.
  6. Let Rise Again: Place the two rolls of dough on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 slightly diagonal slashes across the tops of the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes.

Baking:

  1. Bake: While the loaves rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. When the loaves have nearly doubled in size, bake on the center rack of the oven for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. If you want to create steam to add to the crispiness of the crust, toss a few ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and close the door quickly to trap it inside.
  2. Brush With Butter: If desired, brush the outside of the loaves with melted butter just after they come out of the oven.
  3. Cool and Serve: Allow the homemade French bread to cool completely before slicing to avoid the bread turning gummy.
6-photo collage of bread being prepared.

Tips for Making a Successful Loaf

Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind so your homemade French bread tastes like it came straight from your favorite bakery! Ever since I started making French bread from scratch, I haven’t wanted storebought. It just doesn’t compare!

  • Baker’s Lame: A baker’s lame is a fancy name for a razor specially used to slice the top of your loaf. I recommend investing in one. It makes scoring easy!
  • Make Your Crust Shiny: Ever wonder how bakeries get their goods so glossy and delicious-looking? It’s an egg wash! Simply whisk an egg and water together and then brush it on top of your loaf before baking. It will add the perfect sheen.
  • Crispy Crust: If you want to add more crispiness to your crust, toss a few ice cubes on the bottom of your oven and close the door quickly to create steam.
  • Serve With: This bread is amazing on its own, but also great with a little honey butter or homemade jam!
Top-down view of 2 French bread loaves on a baking sheet.

How Long Will My Bread Stay Good For?

Because there are no preservatives in this homemade French bread, it will only stay fresh for 2-3 days before it starts to go dry.

  • At Room Temperature: Store your loaf in a bread bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. It will stay good for up to 3 days.
  • In the Freezer: Your homemade French bread will stay good for up to 2 months in a Ziploc bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight before use.
Closeup of a loaf of French bread.

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Homemade French Bread

4.75 from 4 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Making homemade French bread is a game-changer! Golden on the outside and supremely soft and tender on the inside, it will complement any meal perfectly!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 2 Loaves

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Add the water, yeast and sugar to the bowl of a mixer and mix with a fork to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast is nice and frothy.
  • Add the salt and 4 cups of the flour to the bowl. Mix on low to medium-low speed with the paddle attachment until combined. It will be pretty wet at this point. Add the remaining cup of flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough is soft and pliable, but not sticky.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes by hand until smooth. Pour the olive oil into a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat the entire thing with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour at room temperature. You can speed up this process by setting the oven to warm or the lowest heat, typically 170℉. Place the covered bowl in the oven and drop a couple ice cubes on the bottom of the oven to create moisture. Check the dough after 20-25 minutes.
  • Once doubled, split the dough into two equal portions. Roll each half into a rectangle about 9×15 inches, though it doesn’t have to be exact. Roll the dough up the long side and pinch along the seam and ends.
  • Place the two rolls of dough on a large parchment lined baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 slightly diagonal slashes across the tops of the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
  • While the loaves rise, preheat the oven to 400℉. When the loaves have nearly doubled in size, bake on the center rack of the oven for 18-22 minutes. If you want to create steam to add to the crispiness of the crust, toss a few ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and close the door quickly to trap it inside.
  • If desired, brush the outside of the loaves with melted butter just after they come out of the oven.
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing to avoid the bread turning gummy.

Nutrition

Calories: 1253kcalCarbohydrates: 245gProtein: 33gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 2971mgPotassium: 356mgFiber: 9gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 175IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 15mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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8 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I had success when I used 1/3 the salt and used no oil and used no butter but instead used 2 tbsp of melted margarine and replaced 3 tbsp of the flour with non-fat dry milk. This then looked just like the pic and tasted superb. Otherwise I got a giant biscuit.

    1. I haven’t made hamburger rolls with this recipe before so I’m not quite sure how many it would make!

  2. 5 stars
    hey i absolutely love this recipe, have tried it many times and it never fails, like, ever. but i have a question, when you cut it in half, is it 1253 calories per loaf or is the 1253 calories for both of them ?? thank you so much in advance !!!!

  3. 5 stars
    The BEST RECIPE!
    I’ve made a few homemade French bread recipes- they were good but tasted like Bread Machine flavor bread/texture was also gummy and dense- not fluffy.

    I wanted the grocery store flavor French bread and fluff. And this recipe delivered!

    Best loaves I’ve made! We were all shocked and impressed and now we are STUFFED. 🤤😋