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 and I highly encourage it, as it has more protein, thus developing more gluten which makes for a better rise and crumb. All purpose will work if that's all you have.
- 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.
- Time: it's the most important step and what makes this french bread recipe extremely easy. You only need to process the dough for 45 seconds! Yes, that's right, less than a minute.
- Food processor: it's the necessary appliance for this recipe. Use one that is large enough to hold all ingredients comfortably.
- Mixing: the process for making this dough is simply putting the ingredients in the bowl of the processor with the steel blade and adding the water through the feed tube while the food processor is running.
- Dough: it will be rustic, not smooth at all (image 3 below). You then have to let it rest for a couple of hours. The dough won't rise until doubled so don't worry if it has hardly changed in appearance. But it will be softer and relaxed.
Forming and scoring the loaf
Baguettes or batards: they are French names that distinguish the type of loaf. The baguetter are thinner and longer (more crust than crumb) and the batards are plumpier and shorter (more crumb than crust).
How to form them? Start by making a rectangle and roll it up with your hands as you would cinnamon rolls. Very important: pinch the seams each time you roll the dough (image 4 below) to keep out as much air as possible.
Scoring: this refers to the slits that are made on top of the loaf right before it goes into the oven. This helps the bread to rise evenly. Use a lame (a stick with a blade that can be bought online) or a very sharp knife. Don't be tempted to make very deep slits because they will blossom too much during baking.
Baking the bread
Oven: this is where the magic happens and it's imperative to put a pan with hot water on the bottom of the oven to create steam while the bread bakes. It helps in creating that fabulous crackly crust that we all love!
When is it done? The bread will turn a golden brown and the slits will open. The way to know if it fully baked is by turning it upside down (careful because it's very hot, so use a kitchen towel) and tapping the bottom of the bread. It should sound hollow and not be very soft. That's when the bread is done.
WATCH THE STEP-BY-STEP VIDEO 👇🏻
- 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.
OTHER BREAD RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE:
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- 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 starts 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.
- Dump it onto a lightly floured counter, and divide it into 2 or 3 pieces.
- With each piece make some rough buns by cupping them with both hands until you have a smooth surface, cover them with a clean kitchen towel or loose piece of plastic wrap, 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).
- Prep Time: 10
- Resting time: 180 minutes
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
- Serving Size: ⅛
- Calories: 218
- Sugar: 0.2 g
- Sodium: 584.4 mg
- Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 43.7 g
- Protein: 7.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: french bread