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How To Make French Bread From Scratch

Updated on August 22, 2012

How to Make French Bread From Scratch

Making bread is not that difficult to do from scratch. I know a lot of people think that there is a science to it but I can honestly say the only science to it is being able to get the temperature right!

Using yeast is simply a matter of adding the liquid ingredients at the correct temperature to activate the yeast and also making sure that the dough has adequate heat to rise. By applying these 2 simple theories in bread making, it is really very easy to be successful at it.

Moreover, there is nothing like the smell of baking bread in a house. I used a recipe that I had in my 30 year old Betty Crocker International Cookbook; however, that was before we had food processors and stand-up mixers. Instead of kneading the dough by hand, I simply mix the dough and then place in the mixer with the dough hook and knead it that way. Nothing could be simpler!  For variety, try potato bread and rolls. 

Photo Credit: Adam Pieniazek

Homemade French Bread

Makes 1 loaf


  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 2-1/2 teaspoons dry yeast)
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2-3/4-3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg white or substitute egg white
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.
  2. Stir in sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour.
  3. Beat until smooth.
  4. Stir in enough of remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
  5. Remove dough and place in mixer with dough hook on or in food processor with the dough hook on. Turn on and knead for 5-7 minutes. (Or turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - 5 minutes or so)
  6. Place in a greased bowl. Turn greased side up.
  7. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place until double 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  8. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  9. Punch down dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Grease a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
  11. Roll dough into rectangle on slightly floured surface to 15 x 10 inches.
  12. Roll up tightly and seal edge.
  13. Roll gently back and forth to taper ends.
  14. Place on cookie sheet.
  15. Make 1/4-inch slashes in loaf at 2-inch intervals or make 1 lengthwise slash down length of the loaf.
  16. Brush the top of loaf with cold water.
  17. Let rise uncovered until double 1-1/2 hours.
  18. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  19. Brush loaf with cold water.
  20. Bake 20 minutes.
  21. Mix egg white and 2 tablespoons water.
  22. Brush over loaf.
  23. Bake until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped – about 25 minutes.

The 10-Minute Version


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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Thanks k9keystrokes - I love making breads of any kind and once I find a recipe that I can do without flaw, I tend to like to share it! Glad you like it!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      Very good recipe, and easy to follow instructions. Thank you for passing on this "French bread recipe!" It's my new bread link!


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Mamacooks - that is super! Nothing like homemade bread and it's even better when it turns out wonderfully!

    • profile image

      MamaCooks 6 years ago

      Just made the french bread following the 10-minute video here. It worked *wonderfully*. I was so excited when it turned out so well. I have made around 20 loaves of bread following different recipes, and none have turned out well enough that I thought I would do it regularly or serve it to company. This has changed that. Easy to follow, wonderful look/taste/smell/texture. Thanks so much for making this available.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Welcome...I love making breads of any kind and can't resist dabbling.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      Thank you for this! ... :-)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      I didn't - just made it again last night as it made me 'crave' it after writing about it! That and the clam chowder..maybe I should quit writing food hubs. I just used plain old unbleached flour but I happened to be thinking that you could probably substitute a little wheat or something else for part of the flour - I will have to start experimenting but it is a super easy recipe. It is a kind of stickier dough than most but it raises really well. I forgot though and did a long loaf and next time will roll it the short end to keep it a shorter/higher loaf. But it was still delicious although I ended up with a LOOOONG loaf! It must have been okay though as my Griffin tried to grab it off the counter as soon as it came out of the oven - that rat!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Sounds wonderful! Do you have to use special bread flour?

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      I am sure you handled it way better than I would have....when faced with situations that stress me out, unfortunately I 'go verbal'! Will check Redgage out!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 8 years ago from England

      Hi, Audrey, yeah get the dough, put the water.... I am taking notice of what you said! never ever again am I buying bread! I am going to make it, even if I make a right mess of the kitchen! cheers Nell

      ps. Don't forget to check out Redgage. I mentioned it on my hub in answer to your comment. cheers