Quick French Bread

Quick French Bread

Bread baking, often seen as a meticulous art, can be a quick and rewarding experience, especially when it comes to making French bread. Known for its crispy crust and soft, airy interior, French bread is a staple that can complement any meal. With this quick French bread recipe, you can bring the charm of a French bakery into your home without spending hours in the kitchen.


To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110°F/45°C)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional, for brushing)


  1. Activate the Yeast: In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes frothy. This step is crucial as it activates the yeast and ensures your bread will rise properly.
  2. Prepare the Dough: Add the salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.
  3. Knead the Dough: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. If using a stand mixer, knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes.
  4. First Rise: Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning it to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Shape the Loaves: Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Shape each portion into a loaf by flattening it into a rectangle and then rolling it up tightly from one short end to the other. Pinch the seams and ends to seal.
  6. Second Rise: Place the shaped loaves on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let them rise for another 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat and Bake: While the loaves are rising, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). If you want an extra-crispy crust, place an oven-safe dish with water on the bottom rack of the oven. This will create steam during baking. Bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  8. Cool and Serve: Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. For a shiny crust, you can brush the hot loaves with olive oil.

Tips for Perfect French Bread

  • Temperature Matters: Ensure the water is warm, not hot, to avoid killing the yeast.
  • Steam for Crust: Adding steam to your oven helps achieve that desirable crispy crust. A pan of water or spraying the oven walls with water can do the trick.
  • Don’t Rush the Rise: Allowing the dough to rise adequately is key to developing flavor and texture. Find a warm spot in your kitchen for the best results.
  • Score the Bread: Before baking, make a few shallow slashes on the top of the loaves with a sharp knife. This allows the bread to expand without tearing and gives it a classic look.

Enjoying Your Quick French Bread

French bread is incredibly versatile. Enjoy it warm with a pat of butter, use it for sandwiches, or serve it alongside soups and salads. Leftovers can be transformed into garlic bread, croutons, or bread pudding. With this quick and easy recipe, fresh French bread can become a regular part of your baking repertoire.

So, why wait for a trip to the bakery? With simple ingredients and a bit of time, you can enjoy the delightful experience of homemade French bread any day of the week. Bon appétit!

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