Homemade French Bread

Love fresh baked bread? Make your own simply and frugally with this Homemade French Bread Recipe.

How many nights a week do you grab a loaf of French bread, or Italian bread from the bakery at the grocery store?  How many times have you read the ingredients? And how many times have you thought about how much that loaf of bread cost?

What if I told you, you could make your own bread, know exactly what was in it, and spend pennies?  It is possible.  In fact, it is so easy, your kids could help!  Spend an afternoon and make a couple loaves; one for dinner tonight, and one for another day.  This recipe is so simplistic you will wonder why you haven’t made it before.

The truth is people are scared by the thought of making their own bread.  It is so easy.  I even find it therapeutic to punch and kneed the bread dough.  It is a great way to take out frustrations!  The only problem is I have to clean the kitchen when I am done.  Bread isn’t that messy, it’s the flour!  The flour you have to put down on the counter is the messiest part.

All you need to make this recipe are pantry staples! You probably have the ingredients on hand right now!  So, sit down and see how I made the best homemade French bread!

Homemade French Bread

Directions

In a bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.

While waiting, add salt and 2 cups of flour to mixing bowl.

Add yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth.

Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough (2-3 cups).

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  You will need to add flour to keep dough from sticking to counter or your hands.

Pour 1 tbsp. of Olive oil in large bowl. Place dough ball in bowl turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

After dough has risen punch down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half.  Shape into 12 in long loaves.

Place seam side down on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle cornmeal on top.  With a sharp knife, make 4 shallow slits across the top of each loaf.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Now, what does a smart cookie do with 2 loaves of fresh french bread.  Well, eat one of course!  While I have about 10 different recipes for the other one (including a out of this world french toast casserole) ~another day people~! We are going to turn it into garlic bread for the freezer.  So, we can enjoy this delicious bread later in the week!

Here is how..

Slice the bread in half long ways.  Spread butter or margarine on the cooled bread.  Top with Garlic powder, and parsley if desired.

Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze.  When you are ready to eat preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through!

Homemade French Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: bread
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 2 TBSP Active Dry Yeast (2 packets)
  • 2 Cups Warm Water (110-115 degrees)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 ½-5 cups bread flour ( I used all purpose)
  • 1 tsp. cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.
  2. While waiting, add salt and 2 cups of flour to mixing bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth.
  4. Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough (2-3 cups).
  5. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. You will need to add flour to keep dough from sticking to counter or your hands.
  6. Pour 1 tbsp. of Olive oil in large bowl. Place dough ball in bowl turning once to grease the top.Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  7. After dough has risen punch down.Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12 in long loaves.
  8. Place seam side down on a parchment covered baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  9. Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle cornmeal on top. With a sharp knife, make 4 shallow slits across the top of each loaf.
  10. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Comments

  1. Michelle Andrews says:

    Awesome. I am so going to do this – what a great motivator you are!

  2. I love the printable link you have! I will be making this tonight and will post back.

    Thank you so much!

    • All right I’m back with my update.

      Let me start off by saying I hate baking! I don’t like measuring weighing ect. So every bread recipe I have ever made did not turn out right. Either it was raw or the outside was too hard.
      So I was willing to gives Amanda’s recipe a try. I had been cleaning the house all day so I had the AC on(I live in FL, its already getting hot!) So when the recipe called for a warm place I was thinking where in the world am I going to stick this? I had an “ahh ha” moment and remembered I just finished a load of laundry so the top of the dryer would be fine. No such luck the dryer had cooled down already …BUT not the inside!! Yes, don’t laugh at me I stuck it in the dryer. One hour later it had tripled in size and looked so pretty I wanted to take a picture. I followed the rest of the recipe and it turned out wonderful!! I ate half a loaf already!!

      Not very weight watchers friendly if you ask me…BUT worth every point!!

      • momof4,

        You are too cute! I am glad you like your bread! I agree it isn’t weight watchers friendly, especially for a professed bread addict like myself. But hey, we are allowed a treat every once in a while!

  3. Hi there Amanda,

    I wanted to ask if you have tried this in a GF version. I have tried making GF bread but had no success. Thanks. Jennifer

  4. Woohoo … I haven’t made french or italian bread in a while … guess maybe I should add that to my list since $1.99 is way over my budget for a loaf at the Bakery. Quick question: did you just use the self rising flour for the picure? :)

    • Jan,

      I used plain ole’ all purpose flour. It turned out beautifully! You can also try Bread flour…which is what the original recipe called for. The only difference is there is more gluten in bread flour.

      Hope this helps!

  5. Amanda
    I have tried many , many ways to make bread.( Even had a bread machine)
    It has never come out untill today with your recipe. I understand what momof4 was saying about too hard or raw. Everyone loved it tonight. Husband, children, even the MIL. Thank you. Not only did we have fun making it we had fun eating it too. My children want to know if I can make single loaves next time. There are 8 of us. Have you tried it that way before?
    Thanks again
    Stel

    • Stel,

      I am so glad that it turned out for you! I haven’t divided it up into smaller loaves. I was thinking the same thing though. What a super idea for subs! I would make everything the same except divide the dough into smaller loaves. Let it rise the same, and then watch it carefully while it bakes. It probably will not take as long to bake the smaller loaves. If you try it before I do let me know how it turns out.

      Amanda

  6. I don’t know how you do it but you always have awesome recipes!!! I can’t wait to try this. I had never seen self-rising corn-meal lol (I guess I never noticed it at the store). I had typed a question here asking if it was self-rising flour but then I looked at the pic again and saw it was cornmeal!
    Anyways, I can’t wait to try it! Tonight I made French bread from Pillsbury (cheap with coupons and deal) but Pillsbury stuff always seem to have a certain flavor to them. This recipe sounds awesome (my kids looooove French bread, and they take after their mama).

  7. This recipe is amazing! It was so simple to replicate and the bread was fantastic! I found your site by googling “French Bread Recipes without a Bread Machine” or something like that. I don’t even have a mixer with a bread paddle and it still turned out fine, just took some extra hand mixing once adding the additional flour since a standard mixer cannot handle that task (yes, I was learning as I went). Thank you for sharing!

  8. This is the best French Bread recipe I have ever made,the bread came out great,it was soft and light,not heavy like some breads,and it’s so simple and easy,thank you so much for sharing the recipe,it’s a keeper in our family.

  9. This is my new favorite blog!!! I am making your french toast casserole for Christmas day this year and you have now inspired me to make my own bread for it using this recipe. Can’t wait, I know it will turn out delicious!

  10. dominique says:

    a way to have a warm place is to warm up some water in a small pan, place it in your cool oven and then place the bread in the oven. it is draft free and just warm enough. just remember not to turn on the oven while your bread is rising!!

  11. This recipe also looks easily adaptable for a breadmachine to make the dough!

  12. Great recipe! First time I’ve made French bread. I subbed one cup of the white flour for wheat, and even overcooked it a little and it was still super good (and cheap)! Thanks! I will definitely make it again.

  13. Do you bake the 2nd loaf from frozen? Super duper excited for this great recipe!

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