Don’t be intimated by homemade bread. This Easy French Bread is super simple and yields two beautifully delicious loaves.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.
Is there anything better than the smell of fresh baked bread wafting throughout your house? I honestly can’t think of much.
Like, why doesn’t a fresh baked bread candle exist?! Somebody needs to get on that.
2020 brought out the bread baker in all of us and buying artisanal breads at the store just doesn’t do it for me anymore. And with how easy this French bread is to make, it will definitely be a common occurance around here.
Ingredients for Easy French Bread
The Difference Between Active Dry and Instant Yeast
You can use either active dry or instant yeast for this recipe. I used active dry and the recipe instructions reflect that. If you want to use instant yeast, keep reading for directions.
Active dry yeast needs time to dissolve and bloom in warm water.
Instant yeast granules are much smaller than active dry and therefore do not need to be dissolved and bloomed in warm water. It can simply be added right to the recipe without the blooming time.
Instant yeast will often rise faster as well so you may not need as much time for the bread dough to double in size. Check it at about 40 minutes rather than an hour.
So if you’re making this recipe, stir the instant yeast into the water, along with the sugar. Instead of waiting 10 minutes for it to get foamy, continue with the recipe right away.
How to Make Easy French Bread
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl if you’re making by hand), whisk together the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy.
Add salt, olive oil and 3 cups of flour to the mixture. Using dough hook, mix until combined. Add 2 more cups of flour and mix until it comes together.
Add flour 1/4 cup at a time until a soft ball forms. Place in a well oiled bowl, flip to coat the other side and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Once doubled, divide the dough in half on a large floured surface. Roll out one half of dough into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Roll it up tightly like a jelly roll. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Place loaves on a parchment lined large baking sheet. Place the seam side down. Leave enough space for them to double in size.
Slash each loaf three times, about 1/4-inch deep. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Once risen, whisk the egg and brush them evenly. Bake until golden brown.
This bread has the most tender, fluffy texture of any bread that I’ve made. It’s perfeclty soft throughout.
As much as I love a crusty crust on bread sometimes, this bread is absolutely dreamy with its soft, golden crust. It has the slightest chew to it.
Freezes Like a Dream
Don’t need two loaves right away? Instead of halving the recipe, make up both loaves and freeze the extra.
Bake as directed and allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then wrap in foil. Wrap a second time tightly with foil (being sure not to smoosh the bread). Label with the date.
You can place it in the freezer like this or place it in a large freezer bag and then freeze. It will keep for up to three months.
When you’re ready to use the frozen bread, let it thaw at room temperature for about 3 hours. Before serving, place on a baking sheet and gently warm at 200 degrees F until warmed through.
This will make it taste freshly baked and dry out any possible condensation from thawing.
More Bread Recipes to Try:
Easy French Bread
- 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, beaten
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, add water, yeast and sugar. Stir to combine. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy. Meanwhile, spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Add salt, olive oil and 3 cups of flour to the bowl. Mix using dough hook. Once combined add 2 more cups of flour. Mix again. Add remaining cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a soft ball forms. You may not need all of the last cup of flour.
- Place in the greased bowl. Turn to coat. Cover bowl with towel and place in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour.
- Flour a large surface. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Divide dough in half. Roll one half into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll, jelly roll style. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Lightly slash each loaf 3 or 4 times with a serated knife. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush risen loaves with beaten egg. Make sure you cover the entire surface of the loaves. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.