Fresh and crusty homemade French bread recipe

July 27, 2015

A good meal is even better when it’s finished off with French bread: to soak up the gravy, hold the cheese or complement the salad. If the aroma of fresh French bread at the bakery is a treat, imagine how good your kitchen will smell, especially when it's this easy to make.

Fresh and crusty homemade French bread recipe

[Photo Credit: LOVE_LIFE]

Baking time: 20 to 30 minutes
Makes: two loaves


  • 1 packet (8 g or 1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 c.) warm water (45°C or 113°F), divided
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp.) sugar
  • 10 ml (2 tsp.) salt
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp.) butter, melted
  • 1 kg (4 c.) all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal

Preparation instructions

What makes this recipe so easy to make is that, surprisingly, it doesn't require kneading. Moreover, if you enjoy the aroma and price of homemade French bread but time is a factor, this recipe can be readily adapted for a bread machine.

To make the bread

  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with 125 ml (1/2 c.) of the water and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add the sugar, salt, butter and remaining 250 ml (1 c.) water. Stir until all the ingredients are well blended and the powdered ingredients are dissolved. Add the flour and stir until the dough is smooth; do not knead. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about one hour.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough in half; let the dough halves rest for 10 minutes. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll one dough half into a 25 x 20 cm (10 x 8 in.) rectangle. Beginning on a long side, roll up the dough, jelly-roll-fashion; pinch the edges to seal the loaf. Repeat with the remaining dough half.
  4. Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Place the loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet; sprinkle the tops of the loaves with additional cornmeal. Cover the loaves and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 205°C (400°F). Using a sharp knife, make five diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf. Bake the loaves until they are lightly browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Move the loaves to wire racks to cool.

Nothing is better after a meal than a loaf of French bread. Unfortunately, it tends to go stale quickly. That's why making your own not only saves money, it also ensures a fresh, crusty loaf whenever you crave it.


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