Easy French Bread Recipe

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Nothing beats a crusty French bread loaf when you're serving soup or spaghetti. But store bought French bread often contains a host of dubious ingredients. For example, an "artisan" loaf from Safeway, which is a pretty clean product, as far as grocery store baked goods go, includes Soybean oil (a GMO ingredient and one of the most processed and least healthy fats you can eat), plus sugar and dextrose (both are sugar and both are likely GMO). Besides, if you buy your French bread, you cheat yourself of the satisfaction of making it yourself! (Not to mention, you'll miss the delightful aroma of freshly baked bread streaming through your house.)

It takes no special tools or no fancy techniques to make the French bread my family loves. Give it a try!


Easy French Bread Recipe


1 1/4 cup of warm water (80 to 90 degrees F.)

2 teaspoons granulated cane sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 - 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1. Measure the water in a glass measuring cup, then add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir in the yeast.

2. Put the salt and 3 cups of flour into a large bowl. When the water mixture is foamy (which proves that the yeast is still good), add it to the bowl and mix everything together well.

3. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not super sticky to your hands. If necessary, add a little more flour to get the right consistency. (I recommend adding it a 1/4 cup at time. In total, I usually end up with 3 1/2 cups of flour.)

4. Lightly flour your countertop and knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. (To learn how to knead dough, see the note (*), below.)

Let the dough rise.

5. Place a thin layer of oil on the inner surface of a large bowl, so the dough doesn't stick to it. (For bread rising, ceramic bowls or plastic rising buckets seem best.) Place the dough in the bowl, tossing it to coat its entire surface. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm location (ideally 75 to 78 degrees F.) to rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

6. Place the dough back on the floured counter and cut it in half with a serrated knife. With your hands, press and shape the halves into rectangles measuring approximately 8 x 10 inches. 

Shape the dough into two rectangles.

7. Starting at a long end, roll up each rectangle, creating a log shape. Pinch the seam, as well as the ends, under. (If they don't want to stay pinched, wet your fingers and try again.)

Allow the loaves to rise.

8. A French loaf pan makes the nicest loafs, but you can simply use a baking sheet, as I do. Grease it (or place parchment paper on top of it), and place each loaf on top, several inches apart. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the loaves to rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

10. To get that lovely golden, crispiness on the outside of the bread, create an egg wash by beating together 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Just before putting the bread in the oven, brush the wash over the top of the loaves, then use a serrated knife to cut 4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf.

11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Finished French bread.


1. Cover your hands with a light dusting of flour.
2. Using the heel of your hands, press down and push the dough away from you. Then fold the dough back over itself, toward you.
3. Turn the dough one quarter- to half-way around and repeat step 2.
4. Follow the recipe directions to know how long to knead the dough. When the recipe doesn’t specify, knead until the dough is smooth and shiny. When you pinch a bit of well-kneaded dough in your fingers, it should feel a lot like pinching your earlobe.
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