At times when we want homemade bread without the hassle, this french bread recipe is GOLD. It's kneaded in the food processor in 45 seconds! How's that for convenience? The crust is crackly and the inside is soft and creamy. Quick French bread at its best, and with a video tutorial!
I started making this bread recipe years ago. I would make a double batch, form it into individual sandwich-sized loaves and freeze them. Or eat a fresh baked loaf in matter of minutes, lol, that also happened sometimes. Warm with a dollop of butter this bread is fantastic!
I personally love making homemade bread. The aroma in the kitchen is unparalleled, as are those first warm crusty bites. But I tend to lean towards fiber laden ones like this whole wheat oatmeal bread recipe that is versatile and delicious.
At some point during this very particular year when the 'bake bread at home' craze was going on, I dusted off this recipe and made it both with regular white bread flour and with superfine whole wheat flour. Both are amazing! The latter is more rustic and doesn't completely develop that crackly crust, but that is minor compared to the easiness of this recipe.
So, let's go straight into the details for making this French bread.
They are few and you probably have them all in your pantry right now. French bread, in essence, is the recipe with the fewest ingredients because it only uses flour, salt, yeast, and water.
- Yeast: I like to use dry (instant or active-dry) because they're so easy to store and to use. But I have a reader that made this recipe with fresh yeast and had good results also.
- Flour: depending on where you live they have different labels. I use bread flour, which has more protein (thus develops more gluten), but all-purpose flour works well and is more readily available.
- Salt: use any type you want, just take into account that they salt differently. I like kosher or sea salt, and I had to adjust it to my taste. I suggest you try the bread one time with your everyday salt and go from there, adjusting it for future bakes.
- Water: it should be tepid, and you can use mineral water or regular tap water. Be careful not to use hot water as it will greatly diminish the yeast's strength or kill it altogether and the bread won't rise. Slightly warm or tepid means that you can dip your pinky finger and it will be barely warm.
You'll fall in love with how easy it is to make this recipe! There is some waiting time to allow the yeast to render its magic, but besides that, little hand-on work. I put together a video tutorial with the step-by-step 👇🏻
How to make homemade French bread
- Time: this is a no-knead bread but you need resting and proofing time (when the yeast does its magic), so plan accordingly.
- Flour: you can use white bread flour, all-purpose flour, or superfine whole wheat flour. With this last one, the bread will be more rustic and not have that crackly crust, but it renders a fantastic healthier bread.
- Oven: it's highly recommended that you follow directions for both the temperature and the pan with water in the bottom. This will aid in getting the best results possible.
- Storing: French bread is best about half an hour out of the oven (when it had time to cool down a bit) and those few hours after. You can keep it at room temperature in a bread bag but it will lose the crackly crust. Unless you warm it before eating. In this case, you can't bring it back completely to its original state but it'll be wonderful. And you can freeze this bread (I recommend slicing it thickly, wrapping it in plastic and then in foil or a Ziploc bag).
Frequently asked questions
They are both the same. A baguette is French bread shaped like a stick, long and thin, and also the name used for this type of bread in France.
French bread is the most simple type of bread, using few ingredients (flour, salt, yeast, and water), a crackly crust, and more airy crumb. Italian bread can be more sophisticated, denser crumb with a coarse crust, and many times includes durum flour (a type of flour also used for making pasta) such as our very popular Semolina Bread recipe.
Absolutely! And I recommend doing so if not eating in the first hours of making it as it can harden or become too chewy pretty fast.
If you mean white sandwich bread then no, not at all. But French bread is white in the way that it's made with white wheat flour as opposed to whole wheat for example.
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This bread recipe is GOLD. It's made in the food processor, there's no kneading at all, has a crackly crust, and soft creamy crumb.
*Total time does not include resting periods, 3 hours, so take that into account.
- 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (12g) salt
- 1 teaspoon (3.5g) instant dry yeast
- 320g (1 ⅓ cup) slightly warm tap water
- Put the flour in the bowl of the food processor.
- Add salt on one side and yeast on the other, you don’t want them to touch for now.
- Cover with the lid and begin to process, medium/high speed.
- Add the water through the feed tube as you begin counting 20 seconds. Either do it out loud or use the phone timer.
- You’re going to see the dough start to come together.
- Stop the machine at 20 seconds and see that it is not dry. It should be rough and make sure there are no spots of flour at the bottom. If it is dry, add 1 more tablespoon of tepid water.
- Cover the bowl back and now process 25 more seconds. It should be 45 seconds in total.
- Transfer the dough to a dry bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place for 2 hours.
- The dough is hardly going to rise or double and that is fine.
- Transfer it to a lightly floured counter, and divide it into 2 or 3 pieces.
- With each piece make some rough buns, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and leave alone for 20 minutes.
- Flatten a little each piece of dough on the counter (flour it lightly if needed) and shape into baguettes-like form. I like to make them shorter and thicker.
- Put them on an oven sheet pan sprinkled with polenta or oatmeal on the bottom, and dust the bread pieces with a little flour. Cover and leave alone for 40 minutes.
- About 15 minutes before baking, turn on the oven, at 450°F / 230°C.
- Have ready a roasting pan and a kettle of hot water.
- When the 40 minutes are almost over, put the roasting pan on the bottom of the oven, and carefully fill halfway with hot water. Close the oven door. This creates steam that is great for forming that crackly crust.
- Make 3 cuts or slits to each loaf with a lame (find where to buy it online in the Notes, below) or a very sharp kitchen knife, and immediately put in the oven.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and they sound hollow if you turn them over and lightly tap the bottom with your fingers.
Time: this is a no-knead bread but you need resting and proofing time (when the yeast does its magic), so plan accordingly.
Flour: you can use white bread flour, all-purpose flour, or superfine whole wheat flour. With this last one, the bread will be more rustic and not have that crackly crust, but it renders a fantastic healthier bread.
Oven: it's highly recommended that you follow directions for both the temperature and the pan with water in the bottom. This will aid in getting the best results possible.
Storing: French bread is best about half an hour out of the oven (when it had time to cool down a bit) and those few hours after. You can keep it at room temperature in a bread bag but it will lose the crackly crust. Unless you warm it before eating. In this case, you can't bring it back completely to its original state but it'll be wonderful. And you can freeze this bread (I recommend slicing it thickly, wrapping it in plastic and then in foil or a Ziploc bag).
Keywords: french bread