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Easy Homemade French Bread Loaf Recipe

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Easy Homemade French Bread – a warm golden crust surrounding a soft, light, and chewy center. 

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Did you know that if you go to France and order a baguette, the ingredients are restricted by law? On top of that, if you want to purchase a luscious, fresh, and crusty homemade loaf of French bread, the establishment selling it to you must make that bread on-premises. The bread must be baked and made from scratch to be called a  “boulangerie,” a French bakery.

It’s fascinating to know that the French take their bread so seriously. If you want a seriously good homemade loaf of French bread and don’t have time to hop on over to France, I’ve got you covered! No boulangerie needed!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade French Loaf Recipe

  • Only four staple pantry ingredients are needed, with a dash of sugar to feed the little yeasties.
  • A fragrant, sophisticated, and delicious addition to your family meal.
  • The recipe makes two loaves, which is a good thing, trust me!
  • Makes you wonder why you thought only the French could make good French bread!

 Equipment Needed To Make Best French Bread Recipe

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Whisk
  • Clean Cloth
  • Baking Sheet
  • Knife
  • Pastry Brush
  • Wire Rack
sliced homemade french bread

 Ingredients For Your Easy Homemade French Bread 

2 pkg Active dry yeast

½ C Water Warm

1 tsp Granulated white sugar

7½ C All-purpose flour

1 tbsp Salt

2 C Water warm

1 lg Egg white

½ C Cornmeal

ingredients for easy homemade french bread

How to Make Easy Homemade French Bread at Home

(complete instructions are in the recipe card)

  • Combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Set aside until foamy.
  • In a separate large bowl combine 1 tbsp salt and 2 cups of lukewarm water, beat in 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.
  • Blend in the yeast mixture and stir in 4-4 ½ cups of flour (enough to make a soft dough).
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead for about 10 minutes, working in the remaining cup of flour until smooth and elastic.
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once to coat the top. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide the dough into two sections, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Roll each portion, forming a 15 x 12” rectangle. Roll tightly beginning at the long end and sealing well. Taper the ends.
  • Sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal and place each loaf, seam side down on top of the cornmeal.
  • Using a very sharp knife or lame, make slashes in the top of the loaves, about 2-1/2 inches apart and 1/4 inch deep.
  • Brush tops with egg wash, cover according to instructions in recipe card and allow to rise until double.
  • Preheat oven to 375 while bread is rising.
  • Bake on center rack of preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until light brown in color.
  • Baste the loaves again with the egg wash, then return to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes. The loaves should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped lightly. If the loaves start to brown too fast, cover them loosely with foil.
process of making french bread

Tips and Facts for Making Easy Homemade French Bread

Invest in a bread lame.

A bread lame is a razor sharp dough scoring tool that consists of a curved razor blade on a handle.

Why is it important to score bread dough?

Dough has a tendency to split as it expands in the baking process. The scoring will give an outlet for the gases to excape without causing breaks and air pockets to form. You may wonder why you can’t just use a sharp knife for this. You could, but you won’t be happy with the results. Knives, no matter how sharp, will pull n the dough as you score, causing the dough to deflate.

A clean razor blade could be used but why bother with that when a dedicated bread lame can be bought for less than $15? This lame can be purchased through Amazon and you will have a bread scoring tool handy whenever you want to bake. And, it even comes with refill blades and a case to store it safely.

homemade french bread loaves in process

Brush the bread dough with an egg wash before baking.

Brushing the bread dough with an egg/water wash will give your bread crust on your Homemade French Bread a beautiful golen brown color. We do taste with our eyes first, you know!

Suggested Dishes to Serve With Homemade French Bread

easy homemade french bread

If you Love This Easy Homemade French Bread Recipe, you Need to try These Bread Recipes

whole loaf french bread and sliced french bread on cutting board with blue checked napkin

Easy Homemade French Bread

Soft and chewy French Bread warm from the oven.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: French
Keyword: bread, bread recipes, french bread recipes, how to make french bread
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Rest and Rise: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 16 slices

Equipment

  • measuring cup, measuring spoons, rolling pin, knife, baking sheet, mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 pkg Active dry yeast
  • ½ C Water Warm
  • 1 tsp Granulated white sugar
  • C All-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2 C Water warm
  • 1 lg Egg white
  • ½ C Cornmeal

Instructions

  • Combine 2 packages of active dry yeast and 1 tsp of granulated white sugar in ½ cup of warm water. Set aside until foamy.
  • In a separate large bowl combine 1 tbsp salt and 2 cups of lukewarm water, beat in 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.
  • Blend in the yeast mixture and stir in 4-4 ½ cups of flour (enough to make a soft dough).
  • Turn out on a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, (about7-10 min) work in the remaining cup of flour.
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once.
  • Cover and let the dough rise until about double the amount. Approximately 1-1 ½ hours.
  • Punch  the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface
  • Divide the dough into two portions.
  • Cover  the dough and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Roll each portion, forming a 15 x 12” rectangle. Roll tightly beginning at the long end and sealing well. Taper the ends.
  • Place each loaf, seam side down on a greased and cornstarch sprinkled baking sheet.
  • With a very sharp knife slash the tops every 2 ½ inches and about ¼ inch deep.
  • Beat one egg white until just foamy and mix in 1 tbsp water. 
  • Brush the egg white mixture onto the tops and sides of the loaves
  • Cover with a damp cloth, making sure to not touch the loaves. (Drape the cloth over inverted glasses). Let rise until double, about 1 ½ hours. Preheat oven to 375° as the bread reaches the end of proofing time.
  • Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until light brown.
  • Baste the loaves again with the egg white mixture and then bake for another 20 minutes. If the loaves are starting to brown too much, cover loosely with foil
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices

Suggested Add-ins

  • Sesame seeds sprinkled on top before baking will add a bit of crunch
  • Sea Salt added to the tops of the leaves adds a nice flavor
  • Try adding some fresh herbs to the dough before mixing to really kick up the flavor. Dill is great, as is rosemary.
loaf of french bread sliced and unsliced on cutting board

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