French Bread Pizza Perfected

I haven’t always been a fan of french bread pizza. I know, it’s like the easiest meal in the world and I should be embracing it forever, but it’s the soggy bread factor. I just can’t get over how the fluffy bread has a tendency to soak up all that pizza sauce and instead of that being a good thing, it ends in disaster: wet, soupy bread. Ick.

So I set out to find a way to make french bread pizza work for me and my soggybreadphobia. It’s a serious thing.

French Bread Pizza Perfected

And after a few tries and experiments, I think I’ve got it. Hallelujah! Here are the keys to success since I’m sure you are dying to know: 1) lightly pressing down on the halved french bread (smooshing it, if you will) and 2) creating a barrier between the bread and the pizza sauce (hello, Parmesan!). I am not the only one who clearly is averse to the soggy french bread pizza of my youth (sorry, mom); each of the tips above come from great sources (Serious Eats and Cook’s Country). I took their brilliant knowledge and kind of did my own thing with it.

French Bread Pizza Perfected

I will say that if you are using homemade french bread (I almost always make this recipe with at least half whole wheat flour if not more), it doesn’t like to be smooshied quite as flat as the super pillowy and fluffy storebought kind. Chalk it up to the powerful buoyancy of homemade bread…or something like that. However, the compression still helps the crust to become a bit more dense to minimize the soaking factor, so persevere even in the face of bouncy bread, ok?

The good news is that even with these revolutionary new tricks, french bread pizza still manages to be one of the easiest meals in the world (storebought bread is a no-brainer and homemade can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen). I’m really quite happy that I’ve made up with french bread pizza; I think we’ll be seeing each other quite often from now on.

What To ServeCut up carrots and cucumbers with Homemade Ranch
Fresh Fruit
Cinnamon and Sugar Breadstick Twists

One Year Ago: Taco Enchiladas with Cornmeal Crepes
Two Years Ago: Smoked Turkey Cobb Wraps
Three Years Ago: Cowboy Dinner

French Bread Pizza

Yield: Serves 4-6

French Bread Pizza

If you use this fabulous pizza sauce recipe, you'll have some leftover which is perfect for dipping pizza slices if you or someone you know likes things a bit more saucy. Otherwise, a full batch of the sauce is perfect for a doubled recipe (2 loaves of french bread yielding 4 loaves of pizza). Also, I use freshly grated Parmesan cheese - shredded on the small holes of my box grater and not the stuff in a can. I was quite vague on the pizza toppings - that's up to you! This recipe is more about the method and besides, the options for toppings are endless.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (about 12-inches) french bread, storebought or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Garlic powder, for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more or less
  • 1-2 cups pizza sauce (I use this super simple homemade recipe)
  • Pizza toppings of choice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Slice the french bread in half the long way, forming two long halves (like a hot dog bun but don't keep them attached). Lightly press on the bread with the palms of your hands or with the bottom of a flat baking sheet until the bread is compressed to about half of what it was (generally about 1/2-inch or so thick, but like I mentioned in my post, homemade french bread doesn't flatten quite as well in my experience).
  3. Drizzle the olive oil on both halves, about 1/2 tablespoon for each half, and brush lightly into the dough. Sprinkle with just a touch of garlic powder.
  4. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese across each loaf. Place the loaves of bread on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes, until the Parmesan cheese is just barely starting to turn golden and has hardened a bit to the touch. Take care not to burn the Parmesan!
  5. Spread pizza sauce on top of the Parmesan-crusted loaves and top with pizza toppings of your choice. I usually go with about 1 cup of mozzarella cheese for each half and throw on some pepperoni and olives but the sky is definitely the limit here!
  6. Bake the pizzas for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the edges of the bread are starting to crisp up and turn golden.
  7. Using a serrated knife, cut into pieces and serve immediately.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/french-bread-pizza-perfected/
Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by tips from Serious Eats and Cook’s Country)

24 Responses to French Bread Pizza Perfected

  1. You’re such a genius, Mel. I usually don’t care about the sogginess because I’m so excited I got a meal on the table fast, but you’re right: it could be better. Thanks!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    I love French bread pizza! I love your perfected recipe. I will be making this soon!

  3. Jen T says:

    My kids have no idea what French bread pizza is because I have never made it because I disliked the soggy bread factor as a kid. I will have to introduce them to something new now. Thanks for the tips Mel!

  4. Becky says:

    I think I’m going to make this for the super bowl, but cut into 2 inch wide pieces so it’s more like an appetizer! Looks awesome and easy!

  5. Venessa says:

    So at what point do you freeze it? Do you only freeze the homemade bread kind? If you freeze after baking, what’s the best way to heat it up?

  6. Cammee says:

    My kids love French bread pizza, but I won’t eat it because do the soggy bread. Great tips! My kids will be so happy that I’m making this again.

  7. bluebaker says:

    This looks like something good for the Superbowl menu.

  8. I’ve always been a fan too! And one of my favorite lunches is taking a good crusty roll, splitting it, add the cheese and voila! Perfection in a simple lunch. :)

  9. Nicole H says:

    I didn’t know you could freeze french bread either. That’s good to know, because we love your recipe in our house. I’ve made it a few times for company and we love how much better it tastes and how it’s a bit more dense and filling than the store bought kind. This french bread pizza sounds so good, we’ll have to try it soon. Thanks for another great recipe idea!

  10. Mel says:

    Hi Venessa – I’ve never frozen the actual French bread pizza, I was referring to freezing the baked French bread (and then defrosting to use with the French bread pizza).

  11. Sheila says:

    I haven’t made French Bread Pizza for years. Store brought pizza sauce is no longer within this home after making your delicious, easy pizza sauce. Because of time constraints, I buy my French bread from Panera leaving any extra weekend time to make your amazing French Bread rolls or pretzel rolls. Thank you for reminding me of this quick, yummy meal. I’m excited to try these “revolutionary new tricks”. Love your site!

  12. StephenC says:

    Nice to see your stuff again.

  13. Teresa R. says:

    This looks like the perfect quick and yummy meal. Thanks for finding a way to bypass the soggy bread issue.

  14. Oooh, I love french bread pizzas, but haven’t had one in a while. I love the ease of making this, perfect for a weeknight meal. Pinned!

  15. Mary Karlee says:

    Just this morning my husband was explaining that he won’t eat french bread pizza because he hates the soggy bread. I never even knew this was a factor, and then I click on your site and saw the answer. Wow, thanks for your impeccable timing. :)

  16. army of 7 says:

    Yum! We love French bread piazza for lunch after church. My husband always asks for wings with his pizza, any chance you have a recipe for buffalo wings? :-)

  17. Jessica O. says:

    Oh my heck my husband and I discovered your blog about a month ago and it has totally changed dinner at our house!! I just had to say thank you!! We were kind of stuck in a dinner rut making the same things over and over! I’m a young busy mom and love that your recipes are so stinking delicious but don’t take forever to prepare! You have made me fall in love with cooking again. Thank you for sharing your talents with us! :D

  18. Mel says:

    army of 7 – I don’t have a great recipe for wings, sorry! My husband is a wings hater (I know, the horror) so I’ve never really gone there for a homemade version.

  19. Janae Kirby says:

    Hi Mel,
    I have a favorite pizza bread recipe and it is also delicious! The secret is cream cheese!! You spread cream cheese on the bread first! That also helps with the soggy factor. Here’s the recipe-
    French bread, cream cheese, pork sausage (any flavor), tomato sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 30 min @350 degrees. Put foil over the whole thing like a tent and that way it doesn’t get too crunchy.

  20. Eric says:

    I dont understand the soggy bread thing. I just toast the bread in the toaster oven, apply sauce and cheese and bake until the cheese melts. Never had soggy bread.

  21. bluebaker says:

    Hi Mel- We just had this for dinner.major hit. everyone loved it.Do you think this same methodology would work to re-create the cheese-garlic bread I love from a certain pizza chain? I have another loaf left of french bread so I think I’ll give it a try.

  22. bluebaker says:

    Mel- I did try this method as garlic cheese bread and it worked really well.

  23. French bread is so good especially when you find a brand you really like but even better home made.

  24. Jocelyn says:

    I made these for dinner last night, and my family loved them. I used homemade French bread, and you’re right, it doesn’t squish down much.

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