Perfect Homemade French Bread only requires a handful of simple ingredients for perfect, bakery style bread at home!
There’s nothing quite like homemade bread. This homemade French bread is perfectly soft, with a nice chewy crust. It’s also incredibly simple and easy to make at home using just a handful of ingredients that most bakers will already have on hand. It really doesn’t take much time either. Yes, it’s nearly 3 hours from start to finish, but your actual hands on time is quite minimal. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and you have deliciously perfect homemade french bread at home.
Pan Options for Homemade French Bread:
If you don’t have a French bread pan, you can always use a regular baking sheet. Just be sure to give your loaves enough space in between them so that they don’t end up connected.
If you come to love homemade french bread, I highly recommend investing in a french bread pan. It is perforated (has a lot of holes) which allows for even heat circulation. This ensures the best, highest quality of loaf at home. I highly recommend purchasing one. They are cheap and make a world of difference in the end result.
All-Purpose vs. Bread Flour:
Both all-purpose and bread flour can be used in this recipe interchangeably. Bread flour has a higher protein content which will produce more gluten, giving you a slightly chewier crumb and crust.
Why is my dough the wrong consistency?
We know how frustrating it can be to follow a recipe and still have it not look like it is supposed to. With bread, you want to look at any recipe simply as a guide. Altitude, humidity, and temperature, among other things, can all impact homemade bread. Because of this, you always want to go off of the feel of the dough rather than following the recipe exactly. If your dough is at the perfect consistency and you haven’t used all of the flour, don’t worry about it. If you’ve added all of the flour required and your dough is too sticky, go ahead and add more until it is the right consistency. You will get a good idea of what your bread needs the more you make it!
Scoring the Bread:
This bread loaf requires you to cut slits into the top of the bread before baking. This process is called “scoring the bread.” As bread bakes, it expands and scoring helps release some of that pressure so that the bread can expand without awkward bulges.
- Use a sharp knife or even a clean razor blade for scoring.
- Rely on the blade itself rather than applying pressure to the bread.
- Don’t go too deep or too shallow. 1/4 inch should be perfect.
Due to the fact that there are not any chemicals or preservatives in homemade bread, it does not last more than a few days before going stale. The secret to keeping bread fresh is to have a little bit of airflow in whatever container you choose. Old school bread boxes are great for this, as well a linen or cotton bread bags or towels to wrap in.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious bread recipes:
Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Perfect Homemade French Bread
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 – 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg beaten
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, water, salt, and 5 cups of flour. Knead on a slow speed until the flour has started to combine. Increase speed to medium and gradually add in remaining flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer to a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
- Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a large rectangle. Roll up tightly from the long end. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet or into a french bread pan. Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut diagonal slashes on the top of each bread loaf, about 1/4 inch deep. Brush loaves with beaten egg.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.