Homemade French Bread Recipe
Easy Homemade French Bread Recipe
This is the first made-from-scratch bread I ever learned – and it’s still one of my favorites!
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
- 2½ cups very warm water (I just use the hot water from my kitchen sink)
- 2 Tablespoons dry active yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
- 6 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- In a large bowl, mix together water, yeast, and sugar until the yeast is completely dissolved.
- Add in salt, oil, and flour. Stir with a large wooden spoon or mixer until it becomes too difficult, then knead for two minutes on a floured surface.
- Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover with a dish towel and let it raise until it doubles in size (I usually place the bread in my kitchen window sill where there is sunlight and it’s a little warmer. I have found that on cooler days – like in the winter time – it sometimes take a little longer to double in size).
- Dump dough out onto a floured surface. Cut in half and shape into a smooth, worm-like shape (or a bread loaf shape). If you want to get fancy and make your bread look the way that it does in the picture, use a sharp knife and slice about 1/3 of the way down into the bread, opening up little cracks about 2" apart. The cracks will separate more as they rise and bake.
- Place dough loaves on a greased cookie sheet and let rise again until doubled (about 25-30 minutes).
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove bread from oven and rub butter on top.
- Makes two loaves of french bread.
Butter on top is optional but it is delicious!
Tips on how to make french bread
If you’re anything like me, the thought of actually making your own loaf of bread is terrifying! Lucky for you, this homemade French bread recipe is completely fail-proof!
Follow our directions below and you’ll get a perfect loaf (or loaves) of bread every single time.
Here are a few things we learned about making French bread over the years that will help you on your first try:
1. Buying Active Dry Yeast- This was super intimidating to me for some reason. I was not quite sure what I was looking for, and I had no idea where to find it in the grocery store.
Active dry yeast is typically located in your grocery store on the baking aisle by the baking powder or baking soda.
You can buy yeast in small packets, or in a jar. If you think you might want to make this bread multiple times, or branch out to other kinds of baking, we’d recommend getting the jar.
2. Baking Takes Patience- This may be the only downfall to making homemade bread- the waiting! It’s very important to give your bread enough time to rise.
Without adequate rising time, your bread will be flat and dense, rather than fluffy and delicious. In this recipe, you will need to let your bread raise two separate times.
3. Creating the Right Environment for Bread to Raise- We recommend letting your bread rise in the warmest room in your house. Keeping your bread in a warmer area will allow it grow faster.
We like to stick ours right by the window so it gets a little sunlight. This will especially help if it’s cold outside.
4. How to Work with Sticky Dough- Don’t let sticky dough scare you! It never hurts to add a little (no more than 1/4 cup) of flour. Some days dough is just stickier than others.
If you’ve added extra flour and are still dealing with dough that is sticking to your hands, spray a little non-stick cooking spray on your hands before you knead. The dough will slip right off and allow you to do your thing!