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Crusty French Loaf

A delicate texture makes this French bread absolutely wonderful. I sometimes use this French bread recipe to make breadsticks, which I brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. —Deanna Naivar, Temple, Texas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 loaf (16 slices)


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a 16x2-1/2-in. loaf with tapered ends. Sprinkle cornmeal over a greased baking sheet; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
  • Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

How do you proof yeast?

Don't be hesitant to work with yeast. Proofing yeast is simple. Just grab some warm water, a bit of sugar and yeast and mix together. The yeast should bubble and froth. Just keep an eye on the temperature.

How do you make bread soft and fluffy?

Wondering why your bread is so dense? Want fluffy bread instead? Make sure you're giving the bread dough enough time to proof. To proof bread, make sure you have a warm space in your home. Warmth and humidity will help the yeast to grow and bubble up. These gas bubbles will help make your bread nice and airy. For more tips, check out our ultimate bread guide.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 109 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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  • Katy's mom
    Feb 21, 2021

    Contrary to one of the comments, you do not need to add sugar for dough to rise. Some bread recipes call for only flour, water, salt, and yeast.. Bread flour or all-purpose flour is about 72 percent starch, which the yeast can convert into a usable form of sugar. The dough might take a little longer to rise, but it will rise. As an experiment, I once made bread from the wild yeast on a bunch of grapes from the yard, no sugar added. I wouldn't recommend it because the bread didn't taste good--but the dough did rise.

  • Mary Janette
    Feb 1, 2021

    I followed the recipe, and it turned out fantastic! I will keep this recipe! The next time I make this, I am going to cut my loaf before my last rise. I tested two different recipes at the same time, and the other recipe I tried from another website suggested making the cuts on the top of the bread before the last rise before baking. Other than that, this bread was just like store bought french bread from my local bakery, and so much CHEAPER!!

  • parelius
    Nov 19, 2020

    I agree it's more like Italian bread- but easy and tasty bread.

  • Norma
    Aug 13, 2020

    I made this today, had absolutely no problems, after two cups of flour I just added flour slowly but I think it was just about 31/2 cups. So soft and delicious. So quick to make and so worth it. Thumbs up

  • Gayl
    Jun 19, 2020

    Incredible recipe! However, mine turns out more like Italian bread than French. I have made it several times (and everyone loves it), but I allow for a longer time rising during each session. If you have a lot of humidity in your house, that might make a difference and might cause the final loaf being flattened. I do use olive oil instead of canola. I also use 2 1/2 cups of flour and gradually go up to the 3 cups in the recipe depending how it is reacting during the kneading process.

  • A
    Jun 6, 2020

    I wish this bread turned out better than it did. It sure smelled good baking. However... it was nothing like the French bread I know and love. Would have been better getting it from the grocery store bakery. This bread was bake exactly according to recipe. It was very heavy, dense, and tasted terrible.

  • Amalia
    May 14, 2020

    Full of flavor!! I was skeptical about the amount of sugar involved thinking would be sweet, not at all, the salt amount balances it very well. Yes, It's a dens bread, chewy I would say. I have made many breads this one by far is one of my favorites because it feels very homemade style. Im guessing some might hove found it too dense if they left the dough too dry to touch. I suggest you use 2.5 cups of flour then add little by little after until you get the desired texture. Yummy yummy bread.

    May 12, 2020

    Sorry, this was not a great bread. I do a lot of baking and followed this recipe exactly. The bread was heavy, dense and flatter than expected. Not what I expected. Find another recipe!

  • JB
    May 8, 2020

    This is glorious and turned out just like the bread I used to make, I do like a much longer rise time, since I have the time now. Making more loaves today! SO is super happy and a happy SO is a happy household. Thank you <3

  • Ann
    May 4, 2020

    I’m going to try this today, but just a warning to danielleylee. If you omit sugar completely, your bread won’t rise. Yeast needs sugar!