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A Bread Machine French Bread Recipe You Can Trust Every Time

Sneak Preview: Mix and knead this crusty bread machine French Bread recipe in a bread maker for superior texture. Bake the dough in your oven for the best crust. An excellent recipe for beginners!

Have you ever given somebody a recipe and then, when they turn around and make it for you, you don’t recognize it?

That’s what happened with this Crusty French Bread recipe. I shared it with my daughter-in-law, Amanda. Later, she baked this bread and brought it to a family party.

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 Crusty French bread.

This recipe will build your confidence if you are a beginning bread baker.

  • No bread machine? No worries. See alternate directions for using a stand mixer or making by hand in the recipe notes.
  • Do you have a mini bread maker that only makes a 1-lb loaf? Check the recipe notes for a version designed for you.

What you can expect:

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.

Nope! Nothing too sophisticated. Just a fresher loaf of bread. Slice it for eating out of hand, smear it with garlic butter to go with pasta, or make sandwiches with it (see below).

image of a leaf
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two uncut loaves of French Bread on a cooling rack

Making bread in a bread maker with the DOUGH cycle:

If you are new to this website, you may be surprised that this beautiful bread comes out of a bread machine. I rarely use my bread machine to bake bread because I don’t like cardboard crusts, dense bread, or ugly bread.

Use the DOUGH cycle to mix and knead bread because it’s the best kneading machine in town with a timer. When the DOUGH cycle ends, and the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough and shape it by hand for a gorgeous texture and incredible crust.

After the second rise on your counter, bake the bread in a conventional oven for homemade bread you’ll be excited to eat and proud to share.

Follow this link for many more tips and secrets about using a bread machine in this unique way. If you don’t have much time, at least this read this post about a secret you MUST know to use a bread machine successfully no matter which recipe you use.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • FLOUR: Bread flour is my preference. It will give you the best rise. My second choice is King Arthur’s Unbleached All-Purpose Flour because of the higher protein content.

    Otherwise, go with any unbleached or bleached white flour you have on hand. It will still make a good loaf. This recipe is not written for whole wheat or a specialty flour. Reckless substitutions can be unpredictable. Proceed with caution.
  • WATER: I use spring water for all my bread because yeast and chlorine don’t play well together. If you don’t have any, tap water is fine.

    My yogurt-making friends may want to try using the whey you drain off yogurt when making Greek yogurt. (This is not the same as protein whey.)
  • YEAST: Dissolving instant or bread machine yeast (same thing) is unnecessary. I use it in all my bread-machine recipes.

    You can now substitute active dry yeast without dissolving it first. Be aware it may be a little slower on the uptake. Allow more time for rising.
  • SALT: Use table salt or sea salt. If you substitute Kosher salt, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon.

    Please don’t leave out the salt. It makes all the difference in the way your bread behaves and tastes.
Crusty French Bread (directions for a bread machine)

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. If you prefer, I have included a video showing this process.

Illustrated tutorial for rolling out French Bread

FAQ

How can I make the crust even crustier?


1. Spray the inside of your oven with water (don’t spray the light) using a spray bottle when you first put your loaf into the oven.
2. Set a pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of your oven while the bread is cooking.

How can I keep the bread from sticking to the tray when baking it?

1. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
2. Spray the sheet with a product like Baker’s Joy that combines flour and oil.
3. Sprinkle cornmeal or semolina flour on your baking sheet to make it non-stick.

Be careful when you’re glazing the loaf not to let it drip onto your baking sheet. It may glue your loaf to the baking sheet if you haven’t covered it as described above.

How can I know for sure that my bread is ready to come out of the oven?

Insert a quick-read thermometer into the middle. The thermometer should read 195-200˚ F. This is my favorite thermometer (paid link) if you don’t have one already. Anybody who cooks much will find many uses for this valuable kitchen tool.

Can I use this recipe in a one-pound mini bread machine?

Here is a 1 pound version of the recipe: 2/3 cup water, 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups bread flour, 2/3 teaspoon of instant yeast. Follow the directions given in the recipe.

Our favorite sandwich using this bread:

Amanda recently made this bread for my mom’s birthday party. We used it for beef au jus.

My other daughter-in-law, Susie, introduced me to McCormick’s Au Jus Gravy mix. It’s a touch salty, but I forgive.

Beef Au Jus Sandwich on Crusty French bread

Place the browned beef roast in a slow cooker. Pour seasoning mixed with water (according to the package) over the meat. 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 with Crusty Bread Machine French Bread.

More Bread-Maker Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Testimonials

I’ve made this several times since I can’t find much bread in the grocery stores right now. It’s delicious. I’ve got one rising now so that I can make us some french bread pizzas tonight. I’ll be making this instead of buying bread even when the stores are stocked again. It’s so easy to make too. So happy I found this recipe.”

Jen

This has become my go-to french bread recipe. Comes out perfect every time and so simple!

Andrea

“I have made this a few times now and am IN LOVE! I’ve tried to make it whole wheat, and it’s possible, but not nearly as good! I think this is a recipe that simply needs to be left alone. It’s AWESOME exactly as it is.”

Steph

Do you need an entree to go with your French bread?


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Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

A Crusty Bread Machine French Bread

This recipe is for a simple, crusty French bread you can mix up in your bread machine and bake in the oven for the freshest bread ever.
Paula Rhodes
4.61 from 132 votes
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 35 mins
Course Bread
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lukewarm water - 227 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar - 8 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt - 9 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter - 8 gr
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour - 360 gr
  • 1 teaspoon instant or bread machine yeast - 3 gr

Glaze:

  • 1 egg white - 35 gr
  • 1 teaspoon water - 5 gr

Instructions
 

Making the dough:

  • Place all ingredients in a bread machine pan in the order listed. Select the DOUGH cycle and press START.
  • Check the dough at least twice during the mixing and kneading phase by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Look again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. For most recipes, the dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When the DOUGH cycle completes, if the dough has doubled in size, go to the next step. If the dough has not doubled in size, leave it in the machine until it doubles before proceeding.

Shaping the dough:

  • Remove the dough from the pan onto a lightly-floured surface. Push the dough down with your palms to remove the bubbles. Shape into a loose ball. Cover and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Roll the dough into an oval shape slightly longer than you want your final loaf to be (about 9 x 12 inches is what I do.)
  • Starting from a long side, roll into a cylinder shape. Pinch seam together. Pinch ends together. Pull ends to reach seams and pinch together with the seam making a small rounded shape on each end. (This is difficult to describe. See the picture above or watch the video if you are confused.)
  • Flip the loaf over and carefully place it onto a greased baking sheet or one covered with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place until almost double.
  • Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  • Whisk egg white and water together for glaze. 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 the loaf.
  • Bake loaf for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Bread should reach 190˚F in the middle when cooked through.
  • Remove to a cooling rack or slice and eat immediately.

Video

Notes

How to adapt this recipe to a one-pound bread maker: 
2/3 cup water (151 gr), 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups bread flour (240 gr), 2/3 teaspoon of instant yeast. Follow the directions given in the recipe.
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. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. 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 as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 120kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 104mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 6IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bread machine, bread recipes, French bread, French bread recipe, homemade bread, yeast bread
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating




Helen L

Monday 24th of January 2022

Stumbled across your 58+ bread machine recipes post yesterday whilst looking for new ideas for my bread machine. The French bread seems to be very popular so gave that a go and it was lovely! I used it for toast for today’s breakfast and toasted sandwiches for lunch (think you would call it a grilled cheese).

I also appreciated the different measurements you include for the ingredients as I’m in the UK I usually measure all dry items in grams on digital scales and all wet ingredients in millilitres in a jug. I do have some “cups” which have millilitres on them so I wasn’t sure on the amount of water so I stuck to 1 cup and it turned out perfectly 😊

It’s very cold in the UK at the moment despite having the heating on so I don’t think I let the dough rise enough but it rose very quickly in the oven, I baked it in a loaf tin rather than a baguette/baton as I don’t have a tray quite big enough. Thanks again for all the lovely recipes, I’ll be checking out your other (non bread) recipes too!

Paula

Monday 24th of January 2022

Thank you for your kind words, Helen. I'm glad your French bread turned out well enough for you to enjoy. When we have cold days here, I always throw a blanket over the bread machine to help it hold the warmth the machine generates. You can always remove the dough from the bread machine pan after it has been kneaded, place it in a bowl, cover it, and move it to a warmer place. Hope that helps.

Tia

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Have made this a few times and it comes out perfectly! I love the bake in the oven approach, it just makes so much sense!

Paula

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Hi Tia, Sounds like you've come over to my side when it comes to the "bake in the oven" approach. It really does open up a whole new world when using a bread machine. Go glad you enjoy the French Bread recipe. Thanks for writing!

jpf55

Thursday 16th of December 2021

Hello Paula, first you thought me to the perfect yogurt recipe and now this WONDERFUL bread recipe for a machine bread. I did make a newbie mistake on my first try, I let it rise in a parchment coated bread pan. What a disaster, I just could not separate the dough from the paper but I could tell that the dough itself was looking good so I baked what I could salvage and the resulting flatbread was actually nice. My next try, I realized I had forgotten the butter in my first attempt...Oh well. So, no parchment paper on the second try in a 4.5" X 8.5" bread pan. It turned out fantastic in my toaster oven with only one hour proofing after shaping. Thank you so much. Now, I will go through your 58 recipes to see if I can find this French bread but in a 1.5lb 9" X 5" version and try not to gain weight in the process. Happy Holidays

Paula

Thursday 16th of December 2021

This is a great story. I found that I never need parchment paper with baked yeast loaves as long as I use excellent quality pans. USA pans are the best (and they don't pay me to say that, unfortunately).

Good lunch with the last part of your last sentence. That's why I eat a LOT of salad in a jar.

Nichole

Thursday 28th of October 2021

I made this today for the 1st time and IT. WAS. EPIC. Perfect flavor, SUPER easy (took me like 10 mins of actual hands on time, MAX!) And it was BEAUTIFUL. I would be so proud to serve this to someone. It was also delicious---tasted JUST like fresh bakery bread and now may home smells amazing! I made an extra loaf and I'm going to try to freeze it. If it turns out as good as this loaf, this will be something I will stockpile to always keep available. Thanks so much for this recipe!

Paula

Friday 29th of October 2021

You're welcome, Nichole. So happy you came back to say how much you liked the bread. It will freeze, just don't try to keep it too long.

Marjie

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Turned out great! I sprinkled the Everything spice from Trader Joe’s on it before baking and it was wonderful!

Paula

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Marje,

Great idea. The Everything spice is so easy and really elevates the bread. This is one of the best things about making your own bread. Keep the inspiration coming.