First-Rate French Bread

french bread
So, French bread, right?  Is it actually French?  Do the French eat French bread?  I dunno, I have not looked into this.  Ok, now I have.  What I do know for sure is this French bread is the best French bread ever. 

Why is that?  Because it’s easy to make, it’s soft and tender with slight chew and a lightly crispy crunchy crust, and it is out-stand-freakin’-tastic. 

close up of cooling French bread
I mean, c’mon.  Look at that beauteous golden crust!  What’s not to love?!
Plus, bake the whole recipe, you’re super stocked on two glorious and enormous loaves of fresh bread.  Or, split the recipe, one loaf has gotcha covered. 

I mentioned this recipe a while back
, how it’s the best French bread recipe ever and I love love love it but for some strange reason, I haven’t made it in a very long time.

I mentioned too that you don’t need all the fancy pants whoo-ha extra tools or pans or what-have-you* though please don’t let me stop you if you’d like to purchase them.  You can get by perfectly fine with just a baking pan.*  

So finally, finally, I made this bread again after oh, years, easily years.  Why I don’t make it more often?  I do not know.  It’s rapturous.  Like, I-absolutely-cannot-stop-thinking-about-it-sitting-there-on-the-counter, it-needs-to-be-consumed-nonstop rapturous.

Yeah I dunno.  Time, most likely.  But really, that’s the lamest excuse ever.  Bread making is mostly downtime, waiting for it to do its thing on its own without you.  Btw, get more bread recipes here.

Well anyway.  I managed to get my rear in gear and made the full recipe which is whooo, a lot of bread.  I forgot.  You can certainly freeze the bread after it’s baked, heh, as I did.  No way the two of us were gonna make it through all of it.

French bread on cooling rack
Huge!  Heh, big loaves!  Yum.
Or!  Bake the two loaves and make Chocolate Bread Pudding with some of it, or a breakfast casserole (I’ve got some of those scheduled ahead so come back soon!), or croutons even.

We had this bread with dinner the other night and Mike said he thought he’d had this before and I said no sorry, this is pre-Mike bread and he shot me a grumpy look, that duh time only began when we met and my dear please why have you not made this for me before. 

He furnished me with a hearty guffaw when I said this recipe was up next on the blog.  For gosh, forever, we’ve shared a long-running joke.  If one of us repeats something too often in a short span of time, the other says “French bread.”  This stems from a grocery run and I must’ve, or maybe he must’ve, stated “don’t forget some French bread” far too many times. 

I suppose we have since retrained ourselves not to repeat things excessively; we haven’t French breaded the other in quite a while.   Ah married life, right?!

Anywhooo, this bread is stupendous.  And you should make it. 

It was originally from the Kitchenaid mixer* manual booklet thingie but I found it over on  Goodness, I’m not sure why folks in the comments had issues; do not let them deter you.  This bread is easy and reliable and you absolutely can do this with stellar results.  Trust me.

If you make the two loaves, indeed, a stand mixer* is very helpful.  If you’re super tough or go for one loaf, a mixer is great but you can do this by hand too.

Start by warming up the water which is warmer than I typically warm to but it works.  Just don’t go over 120° F (49° C) or you’ll kill the yeast.  Dissolve in the sugar which is merely there as a jump-starter yeast food.

blooming yeast
Booooff! That yeast is alive!
Once it’s huge and fluffy, dump in the melted butter, flour, and salt.  Whirl that around.

adding flour butter and salt
Here’s with only two cups of flour — seven will really fill the mixer. Wait to add the salt last or pre-measure out your flour and stir the salt into it well. Salt is a yeast killer.
Whirl that around some more, two minutes worth, and bam, that’s it.  Yeah.  Right?!

kneaded dough in mixer bowl
It’s definitely a sturdy dough.
Get out a super large bowl, lightly grease that puppy up, and dump in the dough.  Cover, rise to double for about an hour and we’re almost there.

risen dough in bowl
Wowza, right?!  I needed a bigger bowl.  It helps to pop the oven on preheat for about a minute, shut it off, and let the dough rise in there if your place is on the cooler side.
Slice the dough in half and lightly flour a work surface. 

dough ball divided in two
A bench scraper* is handy here but a knife or pulling it apart works just as well.
Roll out one half to about 12”x15” or so.  If it springs back ‘atcha, let it rest a minute or two or few until it relaxes.

rolling dough out and up
Top, roll it out; bottom, roll it up. Yes, I do measure to make sure it’s the right size.
Once you’ve got your rectangle, from the wide end, roll it up into a log nice and tight.  Not super tight, but snugly rolled.

Here I used my trusty ol’ insulated cookie sheet with just a silicone baking mat* but you can use the cornmeal suggested in the original recipe (corn allergy, can’t) or a big sheet of parchment paper.  Be sure to crinkle the parchment paper up into a wad then unfurl it, it’ll lay nice and flat for you. 

second rise on baking sheet
Top, ready for its second rise; bottom, risen and slashed (be sure to use a sharp knife as you see I didn’t) and ready to bake!
Lightly grease whichever method of baking pan/combo you’re using, set the loaves atop seam side down, cover, and let rise to double again, about another hour.

Bake time!  Woot!  Heat up the oven, pop the sheet in, and wow.  By about the twenty minute mark, your house is gonna smell divine.

Once that initial bake time is up, brush on the egg white wash or you could use melted butter instead, then bake for another three to five minutes.  Or, skip that step entirely, just bake a few extra minutes.

brushing on egg white wash
Time to add the egg white wash here.
You know the bread will be ready as it’ll be a gorgeous golden brown, your house will smell like a bakery, and when you knock on a loaf, it’ll sound hollow.


halved French bread
Yessss.  Yes.  Mmm hm, yes.
It is hard, haarrddd to let that cool off enough to eat, lemme tell ya.  Smear some butter across, and oh, oh my eyes just rolled into the back of my head.

inside of French bread
I’m drooling.  Are you drooling?  I’m drooling.
I seriously cannot stop thinking about this bread.

slice of French bread
Not much beats having fresh baked bread in the house, tellin’ ya.

french bread
Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

First-Rate French Bread

First-Rate French Bread

2 loaves
Prep time
20 Min
Cook time
25 Min
Inactive time
2 Hour
Total time
2 H & 45 M
Hands down, the best ever French Bread recipe. A thin crispy crust, a slightly chewy yet soft interior…this bread is a major winner.


  • 2 packages (14 g) active dry yeast 4 1/2 teaspoons
  • 2 1/2 cups (591 ml) water warmed to 105° F to 115° F/ 41° C to 46° C
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter melted
  • 7 cups (840 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (18 g) fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) cornmeal optional
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cold water


  1. Pour the warmed water into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast atop and let bloom for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, flour, and salt then place the bread hook attachment onto the machine. Turn the mixer to low and mix everything until well combined.
  3. Turn the mixer up one notch in speed (2 on a Kitchenaid for example) and knead the ingredients for 2 minutes.
  4. Spray a large bowl lightly with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl, spray the top of the dough lightly with cooking spray, then cover and set the bowl in a draft-free, warm area to rise to double for about 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half.
  6. Roll one half into a rectangle, about 12” x 15”. If the dough springs back while rolling, let it rest a few minutes then continue. Tightly roll the dough into a log shape from the 15” side so the loaf is long. Tuck the ends under. Repeat with the other half.
  7. Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal (if using). Parchment or a silicone baking mat can be used as a substitute for the cornmeal. Set the loaves on the pan seam side down, cover, and let rise to double for about 1 hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450° F (232° C). Using a very sharp knife, slice 4 diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf, slicing about 1/4” deep. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, beat the egg white and water. After 25 minutes, remove the pan, brush the loaves with the egg white wash, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, until glossy and nicely browned. When knocked, the finished bread will sound hollow.
  10. Slide the loaves onto a cooling rack to cool.


Adapted from and the Kitchenaid manual.

Nutrition Facts



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

bread, French bread

*The bread baking tools and pans, baking pans, Kitchenaid mixers, stand mixers, bench scrapers, and silicone baking mats are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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