How To Make French Bread


I made 2 of these AFTER supper. 12 hours later, there's barely 1 left.

Is there anything better than a freshly baked, still warm loaf of French bread? Recently, Mike called me from the grocery store and asked if I wanted to sample some cheese. Duh! He then asked if I had baguette or something. I told him I’d make some.

We enjoyed the cheese with homemade French bread, and both Mike and Jake suggested I share the recipe. I use a bread machine to do most of the work, which makes it a very, very easy to make French bread recipe. Enjoy!

French Bread recipe:

1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

 Place all ingredients in bread machine, in the order listed. Select the dough setting. I usually check the dough after about 5 – 10 minutes and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and corners.

When the machine has finished, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half into a 10″ x 8″ rectangle, then roll them up, jellyroll style. Pinch the seams to seal.

Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with some cornmeal (about a tablespoon). Place the loaves on the baking sheet, seam side down. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Brush loaves with a tablespoon or two of milk. If you prefer your French bread less crusty, you can eggwash them instead. With a sharp knife, make short, shallow slashes diagonally across the bread.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

*For some reason, we don’t seem to have bread flour in Montreal, but I know it’s quite common in the US. I used all-purpose, unbleached flour and it worked just fine. A mix of 2 cups all-purpose and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat turned out well too. I’ve also used organic white flour, and found it denser, but still good.

So there you have it, an easy recipe for French bread. I would tell you how long it keeps for, but it’s never lasted more than 36 hours in my house!

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  • Cheryl

    OMG, that looks and sound so good.  The only thing keeping me from running down to my kitchen, taking out the bread machine and making this wonderful sounding recipe is that I have no impulse control. NONE..that bread would be gone by tonight. So glad you and your family enjoyed it. (the next time I have a group of guests, I will put this together though.  It sounds great) 

  • Oh, so yummy.  I love french bread.  Maybe I’ll make some this week.  Thanks for the recipe!  Oh, I’ve always used regular flour (not bread flour) in my bread recipes and it’s always turned out yummy.

  • If someone said to me make bread or I’m going to shoot you. I’d just tell them to shoot me now. I can’t make bread to save my life. My new oven has a proofing setting though, so that may save me, although I’ve never used it.  

  • I miss living in San Francisco and always have that amazing SF bread.   Heat it up, slather some brie on it — orgasmic!

  • I’ve never made bread in my life.  If I had a machine I might try it.  But then if I had a gun, I’d shoot it.  And if I had a succotash, I’d, well never mind.  Fortunately, we have a bread shop where they make baguettes that are very close to what I had in Paris.  But I’ll bet yours is just as good!  When you visit, I’ll get a machine so you can make me some and show me how.  You know how bad I am with directions.

  • Thanks Cheryl! I make this bread regularly, and it never lasts long! If you do try it, let me know how it goes over…I’m never sure if I’m that good of a cook, or if it’s just because my familly is all boys who eat constantly no matter what’s in front of them! 

  • Thanks Devon! That’s good to know. The recipes I start with all seem to specify bread flour and, as yet, I haven’t been able to find any here. I really don’t know what the difference is, but my breads seem to turn out well anyway. 

  • I really hope they offer you a third option…like maybe make bread, get shot, OR make a blog button! 🙂

    Maybe you should try out the proofing setting…you might surprise yourself!

  •  We slathered 3 different types of cheese on it…that’s going to be my next post 🙂

  •  The bread machine really makes all the difference! I’ve made bread without one, but not often because I either forget about it and let it rise way too much or get impatient and don’t let it rise enough. I will definitely make you some when we visit 🙂

  • You will do no such thing!  You will sit and look pretty, or shop and look pretty, or dine out and look pretty when you come for a visit.  Harry and Honey will keep the boys entertained, and the bambino call throw things at Smokey the cat while we go do fun stuff all day every day.  I won’t let you do a lick of work!   We will sit around with wine and cheese and let the maids do everything for us.  Or the sister-wives.  You know, who ever is available.

  • LOL, Sounds perfect! 

  • I just love fresh baked bread.  My Mom used to make it a lot when I was growing up.  I don’t have one of those fancy bread machines, but I can make bread.  I just don’t do it very often because it involves planning ahead, and I forget about it.  I do have a no-knead recipe that you just put all the ingredients together and let it rise 12-18 hours or so.  Still must plan ahead.  So what wine did you have with your bread and cheese? (drool).

  • I don’t remember the last time I’ve had fresh baked bread. I bet your French Bread was amazing!

  • Anonymous

     I’m impressed.  I would have made mine with a trip to the local bakery. I actually really like making bread but I’ve never tried a French loaf before.  Kind of making me regret giving my bread machine to goodwill.  

  • It’s funny, the bread machine was an X-mas gift from my parents (I asked for one). My dad, who recently retired from the restaurant business after more than 45 years, never made bread when we were growing up. I got the bread maker and he immediately started making his from scratch!

    Sorry to say there was no wine, Mike had beer, and I had an entire pot of tea to myself…I’m fighting a cold and the cold is winning 🙁 

  • Since I started making my own bread, I have a hard time eating store-bought. It just isn’t as good. I’m going to have to make you some 🙂 

  • I’ve been experimenting a lot since I got the bread maker…I’ve made nut bread, bagels, rye bread, whole wheat, regular white bread, sweet bread, cheese bread…more cheese bread! 🙂 I can’t believe you gave your machine away – although I can see myself singing a different song in 6 months time! 

  • Oh, yes please!!

  • My mouth is watering reading about the bread. I love bread. I could name my site We Work for Bread. I eat bread with everything. I make bread sandwiches. You can change all-purpose flour to bread flour by adding in wheat gluten.

  • Feel free to join us next time! Hey, aren’t you allergic to gluten? 

  • Sure. It’s the only thing I can eat. Bread and beer.   It’s sugar that I try to avoid.

  • Great, I read this the other day and couldn’t stop thinking about French bread until I went out and got some. I bet yours was better, though..

  •  You eat beer? Cool.

  • Ahhh, sweet Lemmikki, you’ve inadvertantly given me the key to conquering you! I tried with cheese and failed but now I know French bread is the way! Bwahahahahaaha, you will be mine!!

    I mean, thanks, I’m sure the one you bought was really good. 🙂 

  • Pingback: He Got My Goat…Cheese » We Work For Cheese » Blog Archive()

  • thanks for this.. 😀


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