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A Bread Machine French Bread Recipe You Can Trust Every Time

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.

If you are a beginning bread baker, this recipe will build your confidence.

No bread machine? No worries. See alternate directions for using a stand mixer or making by hand in the recipe notes.


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 in it.

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).

two uncut loaves of French Bread on a cooling rack

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. Adding an extra 1/4 teaspoon of yeast will help.
  • 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 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 I bake 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 raw 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.


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?


Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. No comment required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or email me: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula

Yield: 16 servings

A Crusty Bread Machine French Bread

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.

Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes

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 bread flour (360 gr)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (3 gr)

Glaze:

  • 1 egg white (35 gr)
  • 1 teaspoon water (5 gr)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bread machine pan in the order listed. Select the DOUGH cycle and press START. After 5-10 minutes, lift the lid and check the dough. If the dough is too sticky (levels out), add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time. The dough should be a loose ball that sticks to the sides, then pulls away cleanly.
  2. When the dough cycle is complete, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Roll into an oval shape slightly longer than you want your final loaf to be (about 9 x 12 inches is what I do.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  6. Whisk egg white and water together for glaze. Brush over loaf.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake loaf for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Bread should reach 190˚F in the middle when cooked through. I love this instant-read thermometer (paid link) if you don't have one.
  9. Remove to a cooling rack or slice and eat immediately.

Notes

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 the 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 as indicated in the 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 the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe
  • Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast. I suggest you add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon extra.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 205mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Lori

Friday 1st of October 2021

Hi Paula, can I get clarification on the amount of butter? It calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter. Thanks!

Paula

Friday 1st of October 2021

That is correct. One teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon of softened butter. Does that help?

Kristina

Thursday 9th of September 2021

I am making this again tonight. Thanks for a wonderful, healthy recipe!! I will never buy this bread from a store again.

Paula

Monday 13th of September 2021

Thanks for coming back to say so, Kristina.

Teri

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

YES YES YES! Another hit in my house. Thank you.

Paula

Friday 3rd of September 2021

Yay!!!! Thanks for the testimonial.

Linda

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Greetings from Vancouver BC,

Do you think it is possible for me to shape this into a batard and bake it in a Dutch oven? I want to achieve the most crusty crust and I think this may be the method, but I don't know if the high heat of the Dutch oven might make turn this type of loaf too hard.

Linda

Paula

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Hi Linda,

I haven't tried it. The sugar and butter do soften the crust over time, but that's what makes the crumb so moist and tender. I plan to try it myself and I'll report back. If you try it before I do, let me know.

Cherie

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

"Dog-Gone Good Bread"! Those are the words of my husband after I Finally made this bread yesterday. Don't know what took me so long. Thanks so much, Paula for this recipe and all the other things you do and post! Hope you had a Marvelous Mother's Day!!

Paula

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Hi Cherie,

This is great news! Glad it turned out good for you. I did indeed have a wonderful Mother's Day. Hope you did, too

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