Bread Machine Crusty French Bread

Bread Machine Crusty French Bread

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Rise Time: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 2 loaves
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
186 Calories
2g Fat
35g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 186
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 365mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 73mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

To make preparation easier, this French bread is mixed and kneaded in the bread machine on the dough cycle and then baked in the oven to perfection. The key to the crust is placing a pan of hot water on the lower oven rack as well as baking the bread at a higher temperature for the first 15 minutes.

This recipe makes two medium-sized loaves (or one large loaf) of wonderful, crusty bread. You can serve the fresh crusty bread with soup, salad, or stew, top slices with cheese, or dunk them in a dip. Slice any leftover bread at a slight angle and use it for crostini or bruschetta, or season, cut into cubes, and oven-toast for delicious homemade croutons.


Click Play to See This Bread Machine French Bread Come Together

"Using the bread machine to do the dirty work of making homemade bread means a fresh loaf is nearly effortless. This bread reminds me of the French bread supermarkets bake, not an artisan bread. But it has more heft and chew than sandwich bread, and it was great to have fresh chewy bread for dinner." —Danielle Centoni

Bread Machine Crusty French Bread Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature water

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or olive oil, plus more for baking

  • 2 tablespoons dry milk

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

  • 2 cups bread flour

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 2 tablespoons medium-grind cornmeal, for baking

  • 1 large egg white

  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bread Machine Crusty French Bread ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Add the room temperature water, oil, dry milk, all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to the bread machine according to your manufacturer's preferred order.

    Add first 8 ingredients to bread machine

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Use the French bread setting on your machine but remove the dough after the last kneading cycle before the baking cycle begins. Or use the dough cycle, punch down the dough to let air escape, let it rise again (45 minutes to 1 hour), knead lightly, and let it rise again (another 45 minutes to 1 hour) before forming into loaves.

    Dough rising in a bread machine

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Spray or lightly oil a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with the cornmeal.

    Cornmeal on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. To form the loaves, transfer the dough (it will be soft) to a lightly floured board. Sprinkle with a little all-purpose flour.

    Dough formed into a loaf on a wood surface

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. Cut the dough into 2 portions and roll each portion into a rectangle about 12 to 15 inches wide (add more flour as needed).

    Dough formed into long rectangles

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. Starting at the long end, roll up the dough, pinching the seams well. Repeat with the next roll.

    Dough rolls pinched at the top

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  8. Place the loaves on the prepared cookie sheet; cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise another hour.

    Dough rolls on top of baking sheet with cornmeal

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  9. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 400 F. Place a pie plate on the lower rack of the oven and add about 1 inch of boiling water. Place the pan with the dough on the middle rack and bake the bread for 15 minutes.

    Pie plate with water

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  10. Lower the heat to 350 F and bake for another 25 minutes until golden brown.

    Baked bread on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  11. About 5 minutes before the loaves are done, mix the egg white with the cold water in a small bowl and brush the loaves with the egg wash.

    Bread brushed with egg wash

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  12. Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool.

    Bread Machine Crusty French Bread

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  13. Serve and enjoy.

    Bread Machine Crusty French Bread

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

How do I know the bread is cooked inside?

The best tool for making sure homemade bread is fully baked is a quick-read thermometer. To check, insert it into the middle of the bread; it should read 195 F to 200 F when the bread is done.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if they are stated to be oven safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

How to Measure Flour Properly

The most accurate way to measure flour when baking is by using the "scoop and sweep" method. This means you use a spoon to scoop the flour into a measuring cup, allowing it to mound on top, and then take a dinner knife (non-serrated side down), sweeping it over a few times until the flour is level. Simply using the measuring cup to scoop the flour can mean you are adding more flour than called for in the recipe, which will result in tough and dry bread.