Do you love eating and smelling bread right out of the oven? Try this Crusty French Bread, mixed up in a bread machine for the best texture and baked in the oven for the best crust.
No bread machine? No worries. See alternate directions in the recipe notes.
Have you ever given somebody a recipe and then, when they turn around and make it for you, you don’t even recognize it?
That’s what happened with this Crusty French Bread. I gave the recipe to my daughter-in-law, Amanda. Later, she baked it and served it to our family.
Here’s the crazy part.
I asked HER for the recipe thinking it was better than mine. How did that happen? Now she is famous in our family for this French bread.
This bread has a soft, compact crumb with a crispy crust when first removed from the oven. It is NOT a chewy kind of artisan bread with big holes in it.
Nope! Nothing too sophisticated. Just a fresher loaf of bread. Slice it for eating out of hand, smear garlic butter on it to accompany pasta, or make sandwiches with it (see below).
How to shape a loaf of French bread:
Follow me. Start at the left top picture. If you aren’t happy with the shape on the first try, roll the dough in a ball and start over. Nobody will ever know.
How to Make Easy Beef Au Jus Sandwiches with Crusty French Bread:
Amanda recently made this bread for my mom’s birthday party. We used it to make sandwiches for beef au jus after my other daughter-in-law, Susie, introduced me to McCormick’s Au Jus Gravy mix. It’s a touch salty, but I forgive.
Place the browned beef roast in a slow cooker. Pour seasoning mixed with water (according to the package) over the meat and cook it on high for 5 hours or low for 8-9 hours. The result will be perfectly seasoned broth and fork-tender shreds of beef. Serve it with Fresh Crusty French Bread.
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- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons shortening or butter
- 3+ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order listed. Start dough cycle. After 5-10 minutes, lift the lid and check dough. If dough is too sticky (levels out), add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If dough is too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time. Dough should be a loose ball that sticks to the sides, then pulls away.
- When dough cycle is complete, turn dough out onto lightly floured board. Roll into oval shape slightly longer than you want your final loaf to be.
- Starting from long side, roll into a cylinder shape. Pinch seam together. Turn over so seam is hidden. Pinch ends together and turn under making a small rounded shape on each end.
- Carefully place formed loaf onto a greased baking sheet or one covered with a silicone baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in warm place until almost double.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make glaze (1 egg white and 1 teaspoon water whisked together) and brush over loaf. Using a sharp knife, (I use a serrated knife) or a single edge razor blade, cut diagonal slashes about 2 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep across the top of loaf.
- Bake loaf for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove to cooling rack or slice and eat immediately.
Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
- To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe.
- If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe
- Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape rolls.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 2mg Sodium: 205mg Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 1g