Classic and Crusty French Bread

Two baguettes of French spread with a ramekin of butter
Easy French Bread.

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  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Rise Time: 105 mins
  • Yield: 2 loaves (20 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
27 Calories
1g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 loaves (20 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 307mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Protein 1g
Calcium 12mg 1%
*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.)

French bread is a favorite dinner bread. Its famous crust is made by baking the loaves at 400 F for the first 5 minutes and then misting the loaves with water. The oven temperature is then dropped to 350 F and the bread bakes for another 25 minutes. The result is a bread everyone will love.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (95 F to 110 F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 cups bread flour (approximately)
  • Optional: 1 large egg white (lightly beaten)
  • Optional: sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy french bread
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  2. Heat oven to 400 F.

  3. In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir until dissolved.

    Combine dry ingredients
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  4. Mix in flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed.

    Mix in flour
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  5. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead it for about 8 minutes.

    Turn dough out on floured board
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  6. Put dough in greased bowl and flip dough over so that the dough top is also lightly greased. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until double in size.

    Put dough in a greased bowl
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  7. Punch down dough.

    Punch down the dough
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  8. Give the dough a quick 2-minute knead.

    Give dough a quick knead
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  9. Divide dough into 2 equal halves. Shape each half into a long loaf.

    Divide dough into equal halves
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  10. Place loaves onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Make about 5 diagonal slits, 3/4-inch deep, into the top of each loaf.

    Place loaves onto lightly greased baking sheet
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  11. Cover loaves and let rise for 45 minutes or until double in size.

    Cover loaves
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  12. Optional: Brush loaves with egg white for a shiny crust, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

    Brush loaves with egg white
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  13. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes.

  14. Remove loaves from oven and use a mister to spray the tops of loaves with cold water.

    Remove loaves from oven
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  15. Turn oven down to 350 F and bake loaves for another 25 minutes or until done.

  16. Remove loaves from baking sheet and let cool on a rack.

    Remove loaves from baking sheet
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  17. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • Keep yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.
  • Store flour properly to keep it from spoiling.
  • Bread flour has a higher amount of gluten than all-purpose flour. This means that bread made with bread flour will rise higher than bread made with all-purpose flour. You can make your own bread flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons gluten to each cup of all-purpose flour you use in your bread recipe.
  • Add a cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the bread dough for extra sweetness.
  • Brush loaves with milk instead of egg white before baking to produce a darker crust.