If you’re new to breadmaking or want a classic recipe in your arsenal, this Perfect & Easy French Bread is going to be your new go-to! This recipe yields two loaves of delicious French bread with a crusty exterior and a soft and fluffy interior.
Lucky you, I’m posting three recipes this week! Why?
Because with the current state of the world and the fact that more and more people are working and staying at home, I figured you’re looking out for awesome recipes to have on hand using pantry staples. Since this whole situation came about, certain products on the grocery shelves are very hard to find, including prepared bread. I figured I’d better get my booty into gear and make some easy bread recipes for you to make at home so you can feed your family and stress bake at the same time!
Also, because carbs are LIFE. Who doesn’t need some serious mood therapy with carbs? I know I do.
If nothing else, just the aroma of fresh baked yeast bread is enough to uplift one’s spirits.
This bread is super easy, as promised, and only has a handful of pantry ingredients you probably have on hand, including: active dry yeast, sugar, salt, melted butter and all-purpose flour. I like this recipe because most of us have AP flour on hand already and it saves us a trip to the store (or multiple in this day and age) for bread flour specifically. With specific measurements, these simple pantry staples combine to make an addictive and relatively quick Perfect Crusty French Bread that you’re going to LOVE.
A lot of artisan bread recipes require the bread to proof and rise for up to 24 hours, but I know most of us don’t have the forethought to plan that far ahead, so thankfully this recipe was designed to be ready in about two and a half hours which is a significant decrease in time compared to similar recipes. You need about one hour for the dough to rise, then about 45 minutes for it to proof once it has been shaped in the loaf shape. A final 30 minutes of baking creates this perfect French bread with an addictive crackly and crispy crust and a soft and fluffy interior.
Oh, and did I neglect to mention earlier that this is practically a no-knead recipe? There’s very little kneading you need to do, and none if you use your stand mixer. In fact, another beautiful thing about this recipe is the fact that you don’t need a stand mixer – everything can be done with very little elbow grease in a regular ol’ bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
For successful bread baking each time, take care to follow these steps and tips:
- Yeast: I used Rapid Rise yeast for this recipe, but you can use active dry or instant yeast in a pinch. You’ll need just one package which equals 1/4 ounces.
- Flour: AP (all-purpose) flour is used for this recipe since it is readily available and easiest to find. Be sure when measuring the flour that you do so properly and precisely. To do this, stir your flour lightly to aerate and sift it, then spoon it into your measuring cups. Use a knife to level off the measuring cup.
- Time: Under perfect conditions, this recipe should take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to make from start to finish. However, different variations in your ingredients and environment can possibly alter how long your bread takes to rise and proof. For instance, if your kitchen is draftier, your bread dough may take longer to rise. For best results, make sure your bread dough is rising in a warm, draft-free area. Some people find this is on top of the refrigerator or on a back burner. Likewise, if your oven has a bread proof setting, you can try using that.
Crusty, soft, fluffy and ultra addicting French Bread. You’re welcome!
Perfect & Easy Crusty, Soft French Bread
- One package 1/4 ounce or 2 & 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (may also use active dry or instant yeast)
- 1 & 1/2 cups warm water divided (heated to around 110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon butter melted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
- In a large mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let set for about 5 minutes or until yeast has dissolved. Add in the sugar, salt, melted butter and remaining water and stir until blended. Lastly, add in the flour until mixture is relatively smooth. The dough will look very shaggy at first and you may want to knead by hand to bring everything together which should only take about a minute or so. Once the dough is mostly smooth (still okay to have some shaggy bits as you do not want to overwork it), place the dough ball back into the bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and turn it onto a floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut dough in half. Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.
- Roll each dough portion one at a time into an approximate 10x8 inch rectangle shape. Roll the dough up jelly-roll style (almost like you're making cinnamon rolls) starting with the long side closest to you, pinching the seam to seal. Place the loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Cover and let proof/rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. With a sharp serrated knife, make three or four diagonal cuts in the top of the loaf. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks until warm to the touch or room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. Can also be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw before serving.
Crusty, crispy, soft and fluffy perfect French bread! This is carb HEAVEN, y’all! Don’t forget the salted butter!
Craving more yeast recipes? Check these out!
Have a great weekend!