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Close up of golden French bread on metal sheet pan

Crusty French Bread Recipe

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4.7 from 35 reviews

When we want homemade French bread without the hassle, this baguette recipe is GOLD. It's kneaded in the food processor for 45 seconds! There is waiting time after that, but very little hands-on work. The crust is crackly, and the inside is soft and creamy. So if you're intimidated about baking bread at home, this is the perfect recipe. Crusty French bread at its best. 

  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 medium


  • 3 1/2 cups (500g) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (3.5g) instant dry yeast
  • 310g (1 1/3 cup) slightly warm tap water


  1. Put the flour in the bowl of the food processor.
  2. Add salt on one side and yeast on the other, you don’t want them to touch for now.
  3. Cover with the lid and begin to process at medium/high speed. 
  4. 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.
  5. Stop the machine after 20 seconds and see that it is not dry. It should be rough; make sure there are no spots of flour at the bottom. If it is dry, add 1 more tablespoon of tepid water.
  6. Cover the bowl back and now process for 25 more seconds. It should be 45 seconds in total.
  7. 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.
  8. Dump it onto a lightly floured counter, and divide it into 2 or 3 pieces. 
  9. 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 them alone for 20 minutes.
  10. Flatten each piece of dough on the counter (flour it lightly if needed) and shape them into baguettes. I like to make them shorter and thicker. 
  11. 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 let stand for 40 minutes.
  12. About 15 minutes before baking, turn on the oven at 450°F / 230°C.
  13. Have ready a roasting pan and a kettle of hot water.
  14. When the 40 minutes are almost over, put the roasting pan on the bottom of the oven and carefully fill it halfway with hot water. Close the oven door. This creates steam that is great for forming that crackly crust.
  15. 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 it in the oven. 
  16. 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. 


  • Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
  • Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you need to adjust. 
  • 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 in a bread bag at room temperature, 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). 
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Resting time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International


  • Serving Size: 1/8
  • Calories: 218
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 584.4 mg
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.7 g
  • Fiber: 1.6 g
  • Protein: 7.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg