Quick French Bread

I love a nice warm, fresh out of the oven loaf of bread.

It is the perfect addition to any meal as far as I’m concerned. The only downside to fresh, homemade bread is that it can take a bit of time. Proofing, rising, rolling, rising etc. Today’s recipe is a quick and easy one. It may not be quite as quick as the 30 Minute Roll recipe I have on my blog but it is pretty close. This recipe makes one nice size loaf or two smaller loaves. I usually make two. We enjoy one and I give the other one away. The dough is mixed up with a bread hook in your Kitchen aid or other mixer of choice. Then I just leave it in the bowl, cover it with a towel and let it rise until doubled – about 20 minutes or so depending on how warm my kitchen is. It’s pretty fast. At this point if I am in a generous, sharing mood I will divide the dough into two pieces so that I can make two loaves. If I’m not in a generous mood I roll it out in one big piece using my rolling pin. Be sure and flour your counter enough so that the dough doesn’t stick. Then roll it up jellyroll style and place the seam side down. With a sharp knife cut three slits into the bread. Be sure and only go about 1/4 inch deep. If you go too deep your bread may look a little funny after it rises the second time. (Ask me how I know this!)

Give the bread a nice little bath in an egg white wash (just add 1 Tbsp water to 1 egg white and mix together) Heat up a pan of water on the stove until it boils. Have your oven preheated to 300 degrees and TURN OFF. Then place the pan of boiling water onto the lower rack of your oven and place your loaf of bread on the rack above. Allow the bread to rise until double (about 20 minutes or so).

Please excuse my dirty oven. The steam that is given off from the water helps the loaf get that nice crust that a loaf of French bread has. Remove the pan of water from the oven and turn the oven onto 425 degrees. Bake bread for 10 minutes and then turn heat down to 375 degrees and bake for another 8 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy a nice, warm loaf of home baked bread with dinner! Easy French Bread

yourhomebasedmom.com

recipe slightly adapted from Cooks.com

1/4 C warm water

2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast

1 tsp sugar

3 1/2 – 4 C flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water

1 egg white and 1 Tbsp water

Combine water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl. Allow to stand until bubbly. Add in sugar, salt and water. Gradually add in flour, mix well and knead for 5 minutes. Let rise for 15 – 20 minutes in a warm place. If you want to make two smaller loaves, divide dough in half. Flour a surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Then roll up the dough jelly roll style and turn ends under and place seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet. Cut 3 diagonal cuts into the loaf about 1/4 inch deep. Combine water and egg white and mix. Brush onto loaf. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Boil a pan of water. Pour water into a shallow dish and place on the lower rack in oven. TURN OFF OVEN. Place sheet with bread on the rack above the water. Let rise until double and then take out the pan of water. Turn oven onto 425 degrees and bake 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 375 and bake for 8 more minutes or until golden brown.

Leigh Anne
Hi - I'm Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 28 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion. I hope you'll take the time to make a comment on a subject that inspires or interests you and that you will share some of your tips and ideas, recipes etc. too!
Leigh Anne

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Comments

  1. Jenny says

    i love french bread and I think I should give this a try too.. Thank you for the recipe and the tips as well..

  2. Beth Major says

    So this may be a stupid question… But I want to get clarification before I take on a project like this (I bake and all, but never have I attempted bread)….

    My question is about this part of the directions here…
    “Turn oven onto 425 degrees and bake 10 minutes.”

    Do you leave the bread in the oven as it warms back up? If so, does the 10 minutes start immediately or does the 10 minutes start when the oven hits 425?

    • Laura says

      Hi Beth,

      I just made my first loaf and I didn’t start the 10 minute time until the oven hit 425. I immediately reset it for 8 minutes when I turned the oven down to 375. This was a really good recipe. I hope yours turns out as well as mine did!!

  3. Kelly says

    Wow – this was such an easy recipe! My bread is already in the oven for supper. Thanks, Leigh Anne!

  4. Laura says

    I made this recipe today to have with a big pot of veggie beef soup and it was outstanding!! There was not a crumb of it left after my daughter and hubby “fought” over the last chunk ;-) I did add two heaping tablespoons of flax seed to it but other than that I did as directed and now have a new favorite bread recipe. Thanks so much!!

    A bread addict :)

  5. Amy says

    Another possibly silly question:
    You say to mix the dough up in your kitchen aid. Does the kitchen aid do the 5 minute kneading for you or you take it out and knead it by hand?

  6. Mary Ann says

    I just made the French bread this morning and mine was done as soon as the oven got to 425 degrees. I made 2 small loaves and left them in the oven while it preheated. I checked the temperature and it was 200 degrees internally so I took them out. I haven’t tasted them yet but I am wondering if anyone else had this happen.

  7. Monica says

    I’m wondering the same as some others, and still not sure after reading the comments too. Do you leave the dough in the oven while it preheats to 425?

  8. Robert says

    Love this recipe. It makes the perfect bread. I’m going to modify it slightly to make sandwich rolls.

  9. Sheryl R says

    Thanks for the recipe. I am going to make 4 full loves tonight with my garlic infused flour. I am a bread making junkie. Very small eater so I give most away. But I love making breads. (I have a huge tupperware tub which I keep bread flour in that I have finely chopped a lot of garlic in. I use it for breads like this.)

  10. Tanya says

    I just made this bread and it turned out pretty good. I like the taste and texture. I will change my cooking time next time though. I kept the bread in the oven while warming to 425 and then cooked for 10 minutes. Once I went to turn down the oven I checked the brad and it was VERY brown and had to take it out before I cooked it the last 8 min.

  11. says

    Made this last night to go along my vegetable soup. Didn’t plan ahead and I needed a quick recipe! This was quick and easy recipe/directions to follow. This was my first time making bread from scratch. I had some flower left over inside after I rolled the dough (in the rolled part). I will have to work on that next time. Loved the bread and it’s all gone now. Thanks so much. I will be making this again.

  12. Jen says

    I found this recipe on pinterest and I had to try it. My father-in-law’s birthday is tomorrow and I planned on bringing an assortment of crostini and decided to make my own bread this time. I quartered the dough and made 4 loaves and they came out PERFECTLY!! Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous and super simple recipe!

  13. Erica says

    I am making this bread now for the third time this week! I used Brown Sugar instead of regular and added a TB more. My family loves this bread!

  14. Smee says

    Thank you for the recipe! I wanted something simple to make for the family before I left for orchestra rehearsal, and this certainly hit the spot. The Hubster and our girl are now demanding that I make it more often :)

    I’m also thinking of sweetening it up a little bit for our orchestra concert potluck in 2 weeks. I know it’s going to be good!

  15. says

    I made this last night but added 2 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup of WWF. Knowing that the whole wheat might make it dense I added 1 Tbs of vital wheat gluten to give it that extra oomph.

    Everything was fine until I shaped and let it rise it in the oven w/ the shallow pan of water. It rose at up to 30 mins and proceeded to “deflate”. What happened? Any thoughts?

    I want to try this again for sure and with just white flour!

  16. Alli says

    Made this last night- my husband LOVED it!

    My notes:
    -we didn’t have regular flour, so I used bread flour…. it tasted just fine to me! :)
    -I left the loaves in the oven when I heated it to 425 (after allowing it to rise). This took 10 minutes in my oven to even reach 425, and the bread was almost baked already. So- I DID NOT bake it for an additional 10 minutes at 425. I turned it down to 375 immediately and only needed about 4 more minutes.

    This bread was much more dense than what I was expecting, but we loved it! I will be sure to coat the ends better with the egg white wash next time as I have a few “floury” spots.

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  18. Haley says

    Wonderful! Thanks for an awesome recipe- my only problem was that I didn’t score the loaves deep enough. I used milk to brush on the dough instead of egg white because we’re out of eggs, and it turned out great!

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  20. says

    WE HAVE ALMOST FIVE KIDS AND WE MAKE ALL OUR BREADS HOMEMADE. EVERYONE LOVED THIS. I HAD TO SWAT THEM OUT OF THE KITCHEN BEFORE DINNER, INCLUDING MY HUSBAND WHO WAS TRYING TO STEAL IT:)

  21. kristen says

    I found your recipe last night when I was looking for a bread recipe for dinner and decided to try it. This was the best french bread that I have ever made. I wanted to eat the entire loaf by myself, but the kids beat me back so they could have some too. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  22. Tyler says

    This bread looks great. I’m trying it tonight. However, for novice like me, could you tell me if I’m supposed to use the entire 4 cups of flour in the bread or just 3 1/2? Also, what speed do I need to use on my Kitchen Aid? Finally, how is the dough supposed to feel (sticky, dry,)? I have only attempted to make bread two other times and it comes out dry and hard. Any tips would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • says

      Tyler, The amount of flour may vary depending on your humidity, altitude etc. Just add enough in so that the dough is not sticky and you are able to work with it. I put in the 3 1/2 and then just add in enough more to make the dough workable.

  23. Renee says

    I made this this afternoon, and after coming back to read the comments, I seem to be the only one with an issue. When I was at 3c flour it was terribly stiff, my mixer could barely get through it. I thought the liquid/flour ratio was a little different than the other breads I have made, but I’ve never encountered this dense of a dough. It didn’t rise well either. I have one loaf in the oven with the pan of boiling water. I sure hope it rises. Any idea where I went wrong?

      • Renee says

        Hi Leigh, thanks so much for the speedy response! So, I uncovered my error. After rereading the directions below, I didn’t see it state adding the additional 1 cup + 2 Tbs water! Duhhhhh. I knew something was way off. I remade it today, and broke down all the steps and ingredients, and found that extra water.

        Funny little mishap. Turned out perfectly tonight though.

  24. Stephanie says

    I’ve never made bread before – ever! I don’t have a kitchenaid mixer. Can I make this without a bread hook? If so, how would I do that? I have a regular handheld mixer, could that work? I’d love to make this bread and impress my family with my newly acquired baking skills.

  25. Jaimee says

    This was my first attempt at French bread, and only the second time I’ve made ANY bread from scratch. I’m an experienced home cook, but baking is not my usual “thing”. This recipe is great! I’m at 5000′ ft altitude and baking can get tricky. My bread was done about 2 minutes after the oven hit 425F, so I’m glad I read comments here first and checked on it early. Everyone loved it with some Guinness beef stew!

  26. Amy says

    Hello. Thank you for the recipe. This was my first attempt to make bread. It turned out well except I made the two smaller loaves and I removed it before the 8 minutes was up since it was really starting to smell a lot. Good thing I did because the bread came out a little dark. It was still good though and my 8 year old loved it!

    Also, for the non bread makers… please put in the instructions before kneading to flour your hands and add a little more flour to the dough. I didn’t do this and my husband had to help me with the kneading part. I followed the directions but that part wasn’t in the instructions. Something to think about…. thanks again though it was good.

  27. Arwyn says

    So I have recently moved to Colorado, after living pretty much all my life near the ocean. I love bread and have tried different kinds.
    However, when I tried this for the first time it rose some but not a lot. I ended up with tasty but very dense bread.
    Do I need to do something different because of the altitude?
    Thanks.

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