The awesome aroma of freshly baked homemade bread by itself will inspire you make this Crusty French Bread time and time again. However, once you taste this yeast bread, you’ll definitely be hooked. It only has five simple ingredients, and the bread machine does most of the work!
Generally, Saturdays at my house are focused, in part, on making bread. Susan asked if I would make some sandwich size French bread for Jambon et Fromage. I said absolutely!
I’m making lasagna for dinner. Therefore, the timing was perfect. I made this fool proof french bread recipe for not only the smaller loaves of crusty bread for Susan, but also a larger loaf for dinner!
Ingredients – Here’s What You’ll Need
I used the following ingredients to make the bread dough: Filtered water, Kosher salt, granulated or white sugar, bread flour, and instant yeast.
I’ve learned through the years that the way to ensure perfect bread every time is to weigh the ingredients. Weighing the ingredients for this bread machine french bread recipe was no exception.
Making the French Bread Dough
I added the five bread dough ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine pan. Once the ingredient were in the pan of my bread machine, I selected the dough setting, and pressed start.
After the dough cycle finished, I removed the dough ball from the bread maker to a floured piece of parchment paper.
The dough weighed a little over 24 ounces. I cut it into four equal sized pieces that were roughly 4 ounces each for the smaller baguettes. I was left with an 8 ounce piece for the larger baguette.
Forming the Dough into Baguette Shapes:
Working with one piece at a time, I patted the dough into a rough rectangle on a well floured piece of parchment paper. Then I folded the long end toward me, and pinched the two sides together. I patted the dough again into a rough rectangle, and repeated the folding and pinching.
Next, I rolled the dough back and forth on the floured surface to achieve the shape of French bread and ensure that all edges were sealed. I repeated this with the remaining dough.
Now it was time to place baguettes into the different pans.
Specifically, I placed the four pieces that were 8-inches long for the sandwich size baguettes into the wells of my baguette pan. I placed the 12-inch piece onto parchment lined perforated French bread pan.
Finishing Steps for Crusty French Bread:
I consistently follow Julia Child’s advice for the perfect warm place for the bread to rise. Specifically, I turn on my electric oven for exactly 1 minute and 45 seconds. After I turned the oven off, I placed the dough into the oven for about one hour to allow it to rise.
Before baking the baguettes, I misted them with water and made deep diagonal slashes in each one to allow further rise in the oven. Either a sharp knife or razor blade works well here.
Update: There have been some comments that with the diagonal cuts, the bread deflates. This will occur if you’re not ultra fast with the slashing.
Laterally, what I do is to slash the dough once the baguettes are formed. It pretty much serves the same purpose and no deflating!
At the end of the rising time, I baked the homemade french bread in a preheated oven set to 400°F oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, this foolproof french bread was golden brown and perfectly cooked. I placed the bread on a wire rack to allow it to cool completely.
I don’t think that there has been a time when I used this easy french bread recipe that I didn’t marvel at the result. This was no exception!
I ended up with four baguettes with crispy crust that were the perfect size for Susan’s Jambon et Fromage, and one larger one for dinner.
You should definitely try this perfect recipe for making an artisan bread that never disappoints. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use either a stand mixer or a food processor to make the dough for this French bread.
I often use this dough to make homemade crusty french bread rolls. I cut the dough into roughly 2 ounce pieces, form the pieces into balls and then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. After allowing the rolls to rise, I bake as directed for the French bread.
Instant yeast, sometimes referred to as bread machine yeast is different from active dry yeast. Active dry yeast needs to be proofed before it is added to the other ingredients. On the other hand instant yeast can be added as is to the ingredients.
For my specific bread machine, I do not bother using warm water. Rather, I use room temperature water. The initial heating of the bread machine brings the temperature up to the perfect temperature. Different bread machines, however, may require warm water.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- I always weigh the ingredients when making bread. The reason is that different measuring techniques can result in significantly different weights, especially the flour. Do yourself a favor and purchase a scale. Mine was less than $10 and I consistently use it for perfect results every time.
- I never use tap water when making bread. The reason is that tap water generally contains chlorine that can retard the growth of yeast or even kill the yeast.
- I always use filtered water when making bread. Sometimes I use filtered water from the refrigerator, sometimes I use bottled water, and sometimes I even use club soda. The carbon dioxide in the club soda helps the dough to rise!
Other Bread Machine Recipes
Bread is one of my favorite things to make. Here are some of my favorite recipes.
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Best Homemade Crusty French Bread – Bread Machine
- 1 cup plus 3 ½ Tablespoons (9.75 ounces, 276 grams) filtered water
- ½ Tablespoon Kosher salt
- ½ Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups (15 ounces, 425 grams) bread flour
- ½ Tablespoon instant yeast
- Add ingredients to bread machine pan in the order listed. Select Dough cycle, and press start.
- When the Dough cycle has completed, place dough on floured surface. Pat down, and cut dough into pieces. The weight depends on what you're making. For this recipe, cut into four 4-ounce pieces, and one 8-ounce piece. With each piece, pat dough onto a rectangle. Roll the long side, forming a cylinder. Press edges together, and continue to shape into loaf with tapered ends. Place on baguette pan. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
- Heat electric oven for exactly 1 minute, 45 seconds. Place baguettes into oven for 1 hour, or until double in size. Mist with water and make 2 to 3 make deep diagonal slashes across loaves with a sharp knife of razor blade. (See Tip 1)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. When oven has reached temperature, place in oven; bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Yield: 4 individual baguettes, and 1 large baguette.
- To avoid the deflating that often occurs when the bread is slashed right before putting it in the oven, I often go ahead and slash it once the baguettes have been formed. This way – no deflating!