French Bread

Update 2/2013: This recipe has been on my blog, well, for as long as I’ve been blogging and that’s over five years!

It is no exaggeration that this bread is made at least twice a month in my kitchen.

It’s perfect to eat just by itself (warm out of the oven? seriously, divine) or to use as garlic bread, french bread pizzas, dipping for fondue. I mean the possibilities are endless.

The bread is exactly what unauthentic French bread should be (ignore those cravings for a “real” crusty baguette – this is not it). Soft and tender and absolutely worth all the carbs. Promise.

French Bread

French Bread

French Bread

Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be. Also, I often use half to 3/4 finely ground white whole wheat flour with good results - and sometimes I get crazy and use 100% whole wheat flour (always finely ground white wheat) but the bread is a bit more dense with 100% whole wheat flour. If using part or all whole wheat flour, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten.


  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 1/2 - 6 cups flour (see note)


  1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water sugar and yeast. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture bubble and foam before proceeding (this can take 3-5 minutes). If using instant yeast, proceed with the recipe (no need to let the yeast activate). Add the salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and mix. Add in 2 1/2 to 3 more cups of flour gradually. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky but it should still be soft. Knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft.
  2. Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds or use a wooden spoon to stir down the dough) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn the dough onto a lightly greased surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9X13-inch rectangle. Roll the dough up starting from the long edge and pinch the seam to seal. Arrange seam side down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the second part of dough. Place it on the baking sheet leaving room for both loaves (or use a second baking sheet for the second loaf). Cover with greased plastic wrap and let the loaves rise until doubled in size. With a very sharp knife cut 3 or 4 gashes at an angle on the top of each loaf. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and baked through.

Recipe Source: from The Sister’s Cafe

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191 Responses to French Bread

  1. Tim says:

    Good recipe! I’ve been looking for a good, easy French bread recipe for a while and this is it! The only criticism I have is with the amount of salt. 1 Tbsp is too much imho. I made it a second time with 1tsp of salt and it was to die for! Thank you so much for all your effort you put into your blog!

  2. Leslie says:

    Hi! I love your site and recipes. I just made this bread is absolutely delicious but it didn’t brown very much. It is still quite light in color, any thoughts?

    • Mel says:

      Sometimes it’s simply the placement of the oven rack. I’ve found with different ovens that my breads bake better in the top third – and my current oven, they brown better in the bottom third. Also, try turning the temperature up 25 degrees (it’s possible your oven bakes on the cool side).

  3. Brenda says:

    Mel, we love French Bread anyway it is served! I do have a question. When purchasing bread I always look for Italian because we love the flavor of it even more!!! What is the difference – there definitely is one? I am wondering if you know what it is.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Brenda, I don’t know what/if the difference is. I heard one time it’s basically the same, just packaged differently but honestly, I have no idea. Sorry I’m not more help!

  4. Heather S. says:

    Made this using garlic salt in place of the salt, and added a TBSP of Italitan Seasoning…OH MY GAWD! Hands down AWESOMESAUCE! And it’s just my first time making french bread at all!

    • Shawna says:

      What a fantastic idea! I’ve made this bread multiple times (it’s actually in the oven as I type this) but I love the idea of adding some seasoning.

  5. Haley says:

    Mel you saved the day! I needed a bread to go with dinner I was taking to a friend and although this recipe was new to me I knew I could trust you- the loaves were beautiful and tasted delicious!! Thank you for such delicious reliable recipes!!

  6. Jim says:

    Hi Mel – great website. Got back into bread making now that my kids are out of the house and my wife & I are empty nesters. I tried this recipe out and it worked perfectly (used 5/6 freshly milled wheat flour, 1/6 all purpose white). Went well with my wife’s homemade turkey soup for lunch :). Thanks for all the bread recipes here and I’m looking forward to trying more – especially the ciabatta!

    How would you change this to make a traditional hard crust?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jim – impressed with your bread baking skills! Usually a hard crust can be had by adding a pan of boiling water to the bottom of the oven and/or spritzing the bread with water while baking. Good luck!

  7. Rachel says:

    I just purchased the French bread pan you recommended on your kitchen gifts. I am a little confused after reading some of the reviews. Do I still make 2 loaves or 4. Help please :). Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Rachel – are you wondering if this recipe makes two loaves or four? I split the dough into two parts, shape and bake two loaves (using a large baking sheet or a French bread pan like you just bought that bakes two loaves at a time). Does that make sense?

  8. Jenny says:

    I’ve made this recipe several times, and every time I do the slits with a serrated bread knife (going quickly) the whole thing collapses. Its frustrating. Any thoughts???

    • Mel says:

      It takes a really (like, super super) sharp knife or bread lame to get the cuts into the bread without it collapsing and often a really sharp razor works better than a serrated bread knife. You could leave out that step altogether (it makes the bread look prettier but doesn’t affect the taste).

  9. Yolanda says:

    Can I freeze the dough? What would I change or would I thaw it out overnight? Would love to make a couple batches ahead of time to have on hand when we want a fresh loaf. Also there’s only 2 of us and I know this recipe makes 2 loaves. Thanks.

  10. Natasha says:

    This was heavenly! The only problem is I didn’t want to stop eating it! Glad there were two loaves!

  11. Madison says:

    Do you think I could split the dough in half (or thirds) and make French baguettes? How would that alter the baking instructions? I made this recently and my family loved it! I got a baguette pan and want to try it out. Thanks for so many delicious recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Sure! I have a similar type pan and it works great. I usually take a few minutes off the baking time since the pan I have is perforated and the bread bakes more quickly

  12. Audrey says:

    Love this recipe! It’s rising now and I’m making it into subs for your meatball sub recipe. As others have said, this also makes the BEST french toast ever, so I always make an extra loaf. I love to use vanilla sugar if I have it on hand too. I will say, I did have better luck when I kneaded this by hand. I tried the first time just using the bread attachment, but it didn’t rise as much. That being said, I love making bread and kneading is almost like therapy for me, so I felt a little sad taking that step out anyway! Have to take out tension somewhere!

  13. Stacy says:

    this is such an awesome bread recipe. I’ve made it numerous times now and it always turns out great!

  14. Becky says:

    I make a few loaves of this bread at least every couple of weeks, and we devour it within about 48 hours. I usually mix it up with how much wheat flour I use, sometimes I make it into 4 baguettes instead of bigger loaves… but this week, I added about 3 tablespoons of wheat germ, and used about 3/4 spelt flour. With one of the loaves I also sprinkled some mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax seeds, and some others) over the rolled out loaves, so they are all in the dough once it is rolled out, and then sprinkled some on top right before baking as well. Oh my gosh, so good! I ate three slices straight from the oven… I love this recipe because it is so versatile, so I feel safe experimenting and still knowing we’ll have great bread! Thanks Mel!

  15. Carlie says:

    Can you remind me how to do the egg wash? I really like it but don’t remember. I also still do the cornmeal. It’s the best.

  16. Violet says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I made four loaves of the French bread today. My husband and I eat sugar free, so I adjusted the recipe a little bit. I substituted the 2 tbsp of sugar for 2 tsp onion powder and 2 tsp garlic powder. I also used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I used Better for Bread flour as well. I made two of the loaves this way, and then I brushed olive oil, minced garlic, garlic powder, and onion powder on the tops of the loaves. So delicious! For the other two loaves, I made them the same way but added more toppings. I rolled sliced jalapeños and shredded cheese up in the third loaf and I rolled marinara sauce and cheese up in the fourth loaf. Big hit with the husband!

  17. Sally Smith says:

    I love this recipe and have made it too many times to count. Recently, it’s been dense and the texture is a little off. What could I be doing wrong? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sally, glad you love this recipe. It’s nearly impossible for me to know what might be going on with the bread these last few times you’ve made it, especially without more detail. Have you moved to a different house/location? Higher or lower elevation? More or less humidity? Those factors can make a difference. Have you floured the dough any differently than in the past?

  18. Kelly Finger says:

    I don’t see anywhere regarding the type of flour I should use: a-p or bread?

  19. Elaine says:

    True French Bread, by LAW in France, has nothing but yeast, salt, flour, and water. That is by law in their country.

  20. Stephanie says:

    Finally! I have tried bread recipe after bread recipe and they’re always tough and dry. This one turned out perfect. I’ll be adding this one to the rotation for sure. Soft and delicious. Thank you!

    • Stephanie says:

      It’s me again, the same Stephanie from above. I just wanted to let you know that this bread also works in a loaf pan to make a fantastic sandwich bread. It’s the same time and everything. The only difference is that the bottom doesn’t get quite as crunchy but that could be because I baked it on stoneware the first time and in a glass loaf pan the second time. Both ways are fantastic! Thanks again!

  21. Sherry says:

    Hi Mel! Found your recipe through Pinterest and made it today. Read it thoroughly and read your working with yeast directions. Very helpful instructions and fantastic recipe. I found it a little difficult to roll out on a well greased surface because it was so elastic and keep pulling back into a small rectangle, but once I got it to the right size, it rolled beautifully. By the time I popped it in the oven, I was so excited. It looked amazing. It tasted even better. We demolished half of the first loaf before dinner and finished the other half with dinner. So, so good. I can’t wait to make it again. Thank you!!!

  22. Jenn says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I’m making it for the second time right now. I’m just curious about why this bread has to be kneaded and rise five separate times. I’m fairly new to bread baking still, but I’ve never seen a recipe like this before. Does it change the flavor or texture compared to just doing the traditional 2 rises? Just curious about the baking science. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Jenn – From my experience (when I just let the bread rise normally like other bread recipes), the five separate 10-minute rise times adds a chewiness and airiness to the bread that isn’t there without those steps. I’m not sure of the exact science but I just know the bread tastes and looks better. 🙂

  23. Anne says:

    Hello Mel , thank you so much for all the work you do to make me a better baker! I never thought I would ever make my own bread, but it’s been a couple of months since I’ve started, and the whole family thanks you!:)

    I’m getting a little daring here, and planning to make a couple of this french bread for sandwiches to take for a picnic lunch.. I would like to bake the bread ahead of time, freeze and then re-heat on the morning of the picnic to build the sandwiches.. I wanted to ask, how to and in what to wrap the loafs and how to reheat the bread.. I trust your advice more than all the tips on the internet.. Hope to hear from you..

    Once again, Thank you so much!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Anne – so happy you are a bread baking expert! I love hearing that! Ok, so on this french bread, I would make it, bake it and let it cool completely. Then double bag or put in a freezer bag and freeze. If it were me, I wouldn’t reheat at all. I’d just take it out of the freezer the night before you want to make sandwiches and let it sit at room temp until the morning. If you want warm bread, I’d do the same (let it thaw overnight) but then cover in foil and pop it in a 325 degree oven for 5 or so minutes. Good luck!

      • Anne says:

        Thank you so much! That is exactly what I did and it was fantastic!! Appreciate all that you do!! 🙂

  24. Michelle says:

    First, thank you for putting all the best recipes in one place. I’ve tried lots of them and am rarely disappointed. You are one of my 3 go-to recipe sites (the others are ATK and King Arthur so you are in excellent company!)
    Have you ever doubled this bread recipe and if you have, do you double the yeast? I know that doubling the yeast is not necessary for lots of recipes and wondered what your experience has been. I’m going to be making this x10 (in probably 2 batches) for yw camp this summer and am trying to determine the yeast ratio for this one.

  25. Shannon says:

    My loaves were wider and flat on the bottom……are they suppose to be more like baguettes??? What should i do different? The dough was sticky….was it to sticky????

    • Mel says:

      Shannon – It sounds like you need more flour – that will help the loaves hold their shape. I think THIS tutorial will help answer your question. The French bread is meant to be light and fluffy.

  26. Danielle says:

    I found you on pinterest and decided to try your French bread recipe. I’ve attempted French bread a few times and haven’t been successful in making it as good as bakery bought bread. We are planning to use the bread to make roasted veggie and turkey panini’s for supper tonight. My husband live fresh French bread so I’m hoping this turns out as well for me as it seems to have for everyone else who as left a comment.

  27. Pamela says:

    Thank you, I almost added a bit more water but was afraid I would mess it up. Had I checked back I would have added some. Just came out of the oven a few minutes ago and it smells wonderful. Not nearly as pretty shaped as yours. DD and I did a quick taste and it tastes great, much better than store bought. Hopefully there will still be some left when DH gets home from work tomorrow morning so he can try some LOL

  28. Pamela says:

    Making this now. I started with the 5.5 cups of flour, figured I could add more to the 6 if needed but even at 5.5 I think it might be over floured. My dough is smooth and soft but not sticky at all after it’s first kneading in the machine. I assume it’s going to make it a heavier less puffy bread? I’ll proceed with the stirring and resting for the remainder of the recipe and see how it all turns out and post the results. Next time I guess I need to add even less than the 5.5 cups to obtain the slightly sticky texture it’s suppose to have?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Pamela – if the dough is overfloured then yes, the bread might turn out a bit heavy. If that happens again, sometimes I drizzle in a tablespoon or so of water and let the dough mix a bit to soften it up slightly.

  29. Katie says:

    This bread was yummy, but it wasn’t fluffy and didn’t raise well. It definitely wasn’t the size of a typical french bread loaf, but smaller and dense. I am new to baking with wheat flour. I used half white whole wheat flour and half white flour. How do you get it to rise? I gave it about an hour and 15 minutes to rise, but didn’t have more time than that before dinner. Yours looks so pretty!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katie – with whole wheat flour, I always try to knead longer (this recipe is a bit unusual in how it is being kneaded but you could increase the number of times or mix it longer). Also, take care not to overflour. Wheat flour naturally makes a bread dough slightly more dense and overflouring only compounds that. The dough is usually slightly sticky (but easily forms a ball if a small piece is rolled in your hand). Hope that helps!

  30. Danielle says:

    Mel-was the 1 TBSP of salt a typo? My bread turned out pretty salty. It was perfect other than that. Next time I’ll cut it in half.

  31. Pal says:

    Listen, I have not yet tried your recipe. I thank you in advance as I am new to breads. I recently moved to Colombia, yes the country not Columbia in South Carolina, USA, and the bread here is horrendous. I am being forced to learn to bake bread so that I can survive here. You would not believe how bad the flour is here. I am desperate to import some real flour from the USA or Canada. What I to complain about is your complete lack of specification of what type of flour to use. All purpose, standard, bromated, durum, bread flour, artisan flours? The one thing that I do know is that flour is ‘everything’ to baking. Please provide some details in your recipe ingredients. Otherwise, keep on rockin as I enjoy the site.

    • Mel says:

      Pal – I use unbleached all-purpose or white whole wheat flour or a combination of both. You could definitely experiment with other types of flours thought. Good luck!

  32. Nita says:

    I made this French bread this morning and it was so delicious! I loved the flavor and the soft plush texture. It also was very easy to make , this was my first time making a French bread loaf. My family loved it and we have already eaten 1 whole loaf! I plan on making another batch tonight so we can try your French bread pizza.

  33. dawn says:

    Delicious and easy…my two favorite elements in a recipe!

  34. Michelle Garringer says:

    Mel- i love this recipe! Thank you SO MUCH for posting. its perfect exactly the type of crust/fluffy interior i prefer, i’ve made 4 loaves in the past week because i keep thinking up ways to use it! the first two loaves went to french bread pizzas, SO SO GOOD. i tried it fresh out of the oven ( cooled) with just butter- fantastic- and then made garlic bread- this morning i tried it for french toast. SERIOUSLY that turned out really the best i’ve ever made at home with bread from scratch. french bread for french toast. HMM. i feel sad i had years of mediocre french toast because i hadn’t found this recipe for the bread!

  35. Michelle Garringer says:

    Hi Mel- i made this yesterday and OMG thank you SO much for posting it, this is my keeper for the best bread i ever made, the crust was crispy ( i have a pizza stone but baked these loaves on a baking sheet with a silicon mat) “soft” french bread interior which is just what i wanted, i just finished lunch and it was the best french bread pizza base ( hot chicken sausage and cheese) and garlic cheese bread. what a lovely recipe you have posted i’m so happy with my loaves and i am so glad i decided to make the two loaves, it was easy to make, i just kept mine in the stand mixer with dough hook, also i used instant yeast and bread flour, the result was a soft fluffy crumb and crispy crust. i WILL test it for french toast as recommended by the other reviews. for others wondering should i – YES! make this bread!

  36. Ami says:

    What is this egg wash people are talking about in their comments? Did I miss something? My bread did not look like the pic and was a bit dense. I’m new to bread making so any helpful hints would be appreciated! This is my first “Mel” recipe that didn’t turn out, and I’m sure it’s me, not the recipe. Your recipes are a staple in this household. Love your site!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ami – the recipe when I first posted it years ago included an egg wash prior to baking but I haven’t used it in years and years so I took it out of the recipe, especially since it isn’t used on the bread in the pictures. I’m guessing if your bread was too dense, you might have overfloured a bit or needed a longer rising time. Good luck if you try it again!

  37. Danielle says:

    I just made this today and it is delicious. Mine for some reason did not get as brown as the one in your picture but was definitely done and crunchy. Also, any idea why my bread “split” on the side? Thanks for yet another great recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Danielle – sometimes bread will split like that if there are air bubbles within that side of the crust or if it was pressed too thin in that area while rolling it into a loaf. Hope that helps a bit! (Also, placing your oven rack in the top third of the oven can sometimes help the bread to brown better.)

  38. marina hernandez says:

    hi mel…im going to have a late dinner today (8pm), and i would like to make
    righ know the dough, and have ready just to bake at last minute…should i put the dough on the fridge,

  39. marina hernandez says:

    hi mel 2 question.
    1.- if I used olive oil, the flavor is diferente?
    2.- I have UNBLEACHED flour, can i used?

  40. jenny says:

    Do you put something on the top of the bread before baking?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jenny – previous versions of the recipe included an egg wash but now (for the last couple years of making it), I don’t put anything on it prior to baking.

  41. fmandds says:

    Nevermind! I didn’t realize that they’re two pages of comments and you already answered my question. Excellent recipe!

  42. fmands says:

    Oh man, another winner!! Great recipe. I recently decided to try my hand with vital wheat gluten and I added 1 teaspoon to every 1 cup of flour I used. My loaves did not turn out as golden brown as yours. As it was baking for the 25 mins I was reading the comments and I see one mentioned an egg wash. I do not see that in your recipe. Do you use an egg wash to get it that brown? I tend to find anytime I have to “wash” a bread recipe before going in the oven it deflates. Any tips on avoiding that?

  43. Amber says:

    Hi, I hope this isn’t a silly question – what kind of oil do you use? I love your blog!! Thanks for all the work you do.

  44. Melissa says:

    All of the reviews were right. This was the best bread that I,personally, have ever made. I will admit that I was skeptical; my bread machine is my best friend, but I wanted to give it the best possible chance and it was soooo worth it! I was going to halve the recipe since there are only three of us, but I am glad I didn’t. I made half into a loaf, and the other half into mini-loaves for French Dips and it got rave reviews all around 🙂 My only regret is that I didn’t find you earlier, Mel!

  45. Juli says:

    All 4 loaves turned out awesome. I even sent one home with a friend who just couldn’t believe they were homemade! Thanks so much!

  46. Juli says:

    Mel! I love this bread! I make it with bread flour and it works awesome. I use this bread to make your freezer garlic bread (yum!). I tried to double the recipe today and realized I need a bigger kitchen aid. But I only had to use about 9 cups of flour, not 11 to 12 like the recipe states. I’m hoping it still comes out the way the normal recipe does. Ever doubled it? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Juli – I double this a lot and don’t think you should worry about the flour amount. Bread is so finicky…depending on the temperature of my house or the humidity or whatever, I have to add different amounts of flour to many bread recipes. Hope it worked out!

  47. Emily says:

    This bread is so delicious!! We make it often- it goes great with a lot of different dinners. 🙂

  48. Allie says:

    Nevermind, just saw the comment above mine!

  49. Allie says:

    Could you give me an estimate of how long it should take for the loaves to double in size?

  50. Kalee says:

    About how long do you think it takes for the bread to “double in size”? I’m going to make this bread tonight (I’m so excited about all the great reviews) but I don’t want to mess it up! 🙂

  51. Jen says:

    Mel…. am I going CRAZY?

    I’m reading all these comments with people posting about “egg wash” and I’m scratching my head wondering how I missed it in your recipe…. yet I’ve read and re-read it and don’t see any mention of the egg wash!!!

    That nice brown crust you have in the photo: is that with the use of egg wash or NOT? Thanks!!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jen – no you aren’t going crazy. This recipe has been slightly changed over the years and I’m sorry if it is confusing. Several years ago, I used to use the egg wash but I haven’t done so in years and so the bread in the pictures is without the egg wash (which is why it isn’t in the ingredient list anymore). Nothing else has substantially changed in the recipe except for me providing a bit more detail to the instructions.

  52. Lacee says:

    Question- when I sliced the loaves after letting them rise, they kind of deflated. Not a lot, just got a little wrinkly on top. 🙁 Are you supposed to cut prior to letting them rise?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lacee – if you slice the loaves prior to rising, the gashes kind of fill in and don’t hold their shape. Using a really, really sharp knife or actual bread lame (used for slicing loaves) makes a huge difference. I’ve used a knife I thought was sharp enough before and it did the same thing – but when I use a really sharp razor blade, it helps. Also, make sure your bread dough is adequately floured. And underfloured dough will be more likely to collapse a bit.

  53. adrienne says:

    Made this today to go with my most favorite recipe ever, your creamy chicken wild rice soup. The bread turned out great! I subbed 1 cup of flour for white wheat and the texture is perfect! Thanks Mel!

  54. KT says:

    I love this recipe! I make it all the time, whenever I forget that I want bread for dinner and don’t have time to wait for two rises. This comes out perfectly each time! Thanks so much

  55. Shauna VW says:

    I absolutely love this recipe and so did my family! Definitely a keeper!

  56. J again says:

    Used the second loaf for French toast the next day, good stuff 🙂

  57. J says:

    This bread is amazing. My husband actually said “I didn’t even know it was possible to make such delicious bread at home. I thought you could only buy it.” Ummm, thanks honey?
    Thanks for sharing so many great recipes, love your site!

  58. Mariah says:

    I’ve made this several times, and it’s always delicious! I’ve even changed it up some, using honey or whole wheat flour. So good! Your recipes are always spot on!

  59. Victoria says:

    This bread came out really salty. Everyone said it tasted like a pretzel. I was disappointed. It was really crusty and dark on the outside but gummy on the inside.

  60. Angie says:

    I had never made bread before and some ladies in my baby group said this bread was “it.” I have to agree. It turned out great, to my surprise. So addictive. The whole family loved it and munched on it till all was gone. Makes you want to stop buying bread and just make it. Trying the rolls tonight and the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Loved the Chocolate chip Peanut butter Oatmeal cookies too. Anywho…lovin’ your site and trying one recipe to the next.

  61. Antoinette says:

    Darn good recipe! My non-bread lover had two pieces with garlic butter on it! All the other bread lovers in the family finished off 1 loaf in one sitting along with our spaghetti. Thank you, definitely a keeper!

  62. staci n says:

    thank you so much for your help. winter colds have hit all 3 kids and the hubby, homemade chicken noodle soup and french bread are being requested. thank you again for your help and wonderful site!!!

  63. Mel says:

    Hi Staci – yep, you can use the same amount (officially, I think you are supposed to use something like 75% less instant yeast but I always just use the amount in the recipe).

  64. staci n says:

    Thank you! that is what i have also. Would it be the same amount?

  65. staci n says:

    so sorry but i think i missed the type of yeast used…?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Staci – the recipe is tailored for active dry yeast (because it proofs in water) but you can also use instant yeast. That’s what I always use and I just skip the proofing step and throw everything in together to mix and knead.

  66. Eve Bursey says:

    Hi Mel!
    Found your website yesterday on my lifelong search for the “perfect french bread” recipe! Everyone’s comments convinced me to try your so I did. I made it in the afternoon and let it come to room temp this morning. Was a little hopeful that it would turn out to be “the” recipe! Well I must say it really did rise! My mother said refrigerator dough never does but being stubborn I have to try things myself! It really is the BEST french bread I’ve ever made! I have 2 questions though, 1) when I took it out of the fridge this morning & turned it out onto my doughboard it was real “rubbery & dense” feeling! Is that normal? 2) It tastes great but it is extremely chewy. Is that normal? Did I do something wrong? Or is that how it’s supposed to be? I love your website and all your adorable children! Cherish this time of your life because believe it or not it goes quickly! Thanks for all you do!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Eve – bread dough can definitely take on a bit of a different texture right out of the refrigerator if it has been chilled so I think what you felt was normal. Also, flavor and texture change/develop when yeast doughs are refrigerated overnight (or longer). In many cases, this is desirable and is how many artisan-style loaves are made. My guess is that the ultra chewy texture came from letting it rest in the refrigerator overnight. Did you use bread flour? That can also give it a chewy texture. When I make this bread (same day with no refrigeration) it isn’t chewy really, more soft and bready.

  67. Amber says:


  68. Mel says:

    Amber – yes, it is 2 tablespoons sugar.

  69. Amber says:

    I made this bread last night…. it was a HUGE hit with the fiance!!!! One question, how much sugar am I supposed to use? 2Tbs or 2Tsp? I got confused becuase it says 2T but everything else asys #Tbs… Thank you for sharing this WONDERFUL recipe!

  70. Sharlene says:

    Let me just tell you, this is seriously the BEST and most FANTASTIC French bread that I have ever tasted. I made this for a sandwich bread to bring to a baby shower and let me just tell you, it didn’t even need the chicken salad on it! It was SO GOOD and took my sandwiches to a whole other level. Make this bread! You will NOT be disappointed!

  71. […] *Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.  Recipe from: […]

  72. Salem says:

    Don’t tell my mother…but I pulled up your recipe online before pulling her’s out of my recipe box when I wanted to make french bread today. (It’s been 4-5 years.) Then, come to find out, they are pretty much the exact same. It was amazing! Thanks!

    P.S. I made an offhand comment the other day, I believe in reference to your corn bread, and it was something like “She usually puts her’s in a 8×8, but I wanted more top layer, so I put it in a 9×13.” And my husband, without even asking who I was talking about, or stopping to clarify, just continued the conversation….knowing that when I say “she” and a sentence dealing with cooking, it’s you! =) I thought it was funny! Thanks so much for ALL of the amazing recipes!!

  73. Dena says:

    I love that this bread comes together so quickly… 2 hours?! My husband won’t let me buy store bought bread anymore. Thanks alot Mel! 😉

  74. […] found a basic french bread recipe on THIS site that got it from THIS site and have been so happy with my variations on the theme that I […]

  75. Meredith says:

    I made this bread tonight for the first time. I used my bread maker to mix, knead and rise the dough. It made it so easy! It turned out perfect, just like your picture. The egg wash makes a huge difference. My husband cannot believe all your recipes. After he had a piece of the bread, he asked “is this from that website?” Ha! He said “that website is the best”. I agree 🙂

  76. […] Tuesday curried butternut squash soup with caramelized onions french bread  […]

  77. Mel says:

    Kathleen – you don’t use a loaf pan for this bread. It is free-formed and baked on a large baking sheet. Hope that helps!

  78. Kathleen McGuirk says:

    What size loaf pan are we baking this bread in? I want to try it.

  79. Mel says:

    Jen – I’ve never made this with bread flour but I don’t think it would hurt the outcome. Maybe try it with half bread flour the first time just to see. Good luck!

  80. […] Monday veggie lasagna french bread […]

  81. Jen says:

    There seems to be tons of really great reviews on this bread! I plan to make it ‘garlic bread’ style tomorrow with my mom’s secret salmon soup (yum!), but I am really interested to know if making this with bread flour would make it any different (or better) then just using all-purpose?? Or maybe half-and-half (half AP and half BF). Can’t wait! (I’ve tried a french bread recipe before and didn’t have such luck, but I’m really counting on this one, your recipes seem to always turn out!)

  82. Kellie says:

    Made this tonight, and I agree with the poster who said I CAN’T BELIEVE SOMETHING SO GOOD CAME OUT OF MY OVEN! We used it for Taco Loaf tonight, and we’re going to make fish sandwiches with the second loaf tomorrow night. SO YUM! Thanks so much for sharing. : )

  83. Casey says:

    Just sliced into this bread…never thought such good bread would ever come out of myown oven! It is amazing!!

  84. […] Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Fresh Basil Adapted from Taste and Tell who got it from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who got it from The Sister’s […]

  85. Mel says:

    Shannon – yes, you could definitely modify forming these loaves into 4 thinner baguettes. Hope you liked the end result!

  86. Shannon says:

    I would think you could form this into 4 skinnier loaves for more of a baguette style bread?

    I’m going to try this later on….I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

  87. M-

    I’ve been baking French baguettes for about 4 months now. Though my latest ones turned out great, they’ve always been a bit too crunchy for me. Your recipe looks like it may do the trick. I just popped the loaf in the oven. I’ll get back to you with a “tasty” review.


  88. Kathy says:

    This is the best french bread I have ever made! It was so easy! I will be making this again!

  89. […] and it has made perfect bread each time!  I found the recipe via pinterest, and it’s from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I altered it just a bit by adding some whole wheat flour in with the white […]

  90. Mel says:

    Nicole – hmmm, I’m not entirely sure what you mean. Looking at the picture of the french bread in the post – does your bread have a wider/flatter base than that? The only thing I can think is that it might need a bit more flour to keep its shape and structure. Do you think it could be rising too long before you bake it?

  91. Nicole says:

    I just made this bread to go along with some lasagna and it is utterly divine! 🙂 The only problem I had, and I have every time I make bread that has to be formed is that the bottom of the bread loaf goes flat…do you know why it does that? Like it’s a perfect log when I form it and it rises, but then when it’s done baking the bottoms bake out and to the pan instead of being rounded. I don’t know if that makes sense but I obviously have a problem. Any ideas?

  92. Bethany S says:

    We love this recipe around here. I was just curious what combinations of flour you like to use with this. I am borrowing a friends wheat grinder (love!) and experimenting with different ratios of wheat to all-purpose, so I was just curious on this one. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Bethany – I make this french bread a lot and have experimented endlessly with the flour amounts. Just yesterday I made it with nearly all 100% white wheat flour (I ran out of wheat flour right at the end and used maybe 1 or 1 1/2 cups white flour). It was delicious – really hearty and obviously pretty dark in color, but if it is kneaded for a while, it still turns out really soft. I will also usually throw in a cup of ground flax meal and that works out great, too. When I really want to splurge, I make it with all white flour because it is nearly like dessert then. Basically, it is a really foolproof recipe and works well with all or mostly all whole wheat flour – just make sure it is kneaded for a bit longer to help develop the gluten (before going through the ten minute stir down cycles).

  93. This was incredibly delicious. Thank you!

  94. Natalie says:

    Hi Mel! I just made this bread for meatball subs tonight (your recipe of course). This makes a ton for my small family of 2 and a little one. Can I freeze 1/2 to dough? Would I then shape it into the loaf, let it come to room temp and then rise? I would rather freeze the dough than make 2 loaves and freeze it while cooked. Any help would be great! Thanks for all the fabulous recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Natalie – yes, you can definitely freeze the dough. I usually plop my leftover dough in a greased ziploc freezer bag and put it in the freezer. I take it out about 6-8 hours before I want to use it, then I shape it, let it rise and bake it. Hope that helps!

  95. MeckMom says:

    I’ve made dozens of loaves of bread but for some reason I can never master French. It always turns out hard and flavorless. After reading your post I decided to give it one more shot. Although it wasn’t as pretty as yours, my whole family thought it was delicious. We downed both loaves in a matter of hours. Thanks so much for finally breaking me of my bad French bread record!

  96. Bliss says:

    Made this again over the weekend. This was the second time that I “forgot” to use the egg wash. ( I say “forgot” because both times, I had the egg wash ready to go, but baby Marie decided she needed attention right then and there) I missed the crunchy, crispiness that the egg wash adds, BUT it was SO soft. Like, sandwich bread soft. Melt in your mouth with the gobs of butter you slathered on soft. So, if you forget the egg wash, no biggie, you still get amazing bread. It still browned up well, and was devoured!

  97. Jocelyn says:

    Thank you so much for this receipe. I have tried it a couple times with fantastic results. I added some fresh rosemary that i needed to use and 3 heads of roasted garlic. Turned out better then I have ever made!!! Thanks again.

  98. The Queen Vee says:

    I was trying to figure out how to make this bread if you don’t own a mixer. Any suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      The Queen Vee – You could easily mix the bread dough by hand and leave a wooden spoon in the bowl. After each 10 minute cycle, “stir” down the dough with the spoon or gently knead it down with your hands. It should work just as well!

  99. Bliss says:

    Making this again today, to dip with some Barbecued Shrimp. Will be a hit again, I’m sure!

  100. Heather says:

    i’ve made this bread twice in the last week or so… it is delicious!!! it makes good french toast the next morning too. my sister-in-law will be trying this recipe tonight after having it at our house. we may never buy french bread at the grocery store again! thanks for the recipe : )

  101. Suzi Grant says:

    Hey Mel! LOVE your website! It’s my go-to place when I’m looking for recipes to use in my upcoming weeks! We’re actually having your Chicken Gyros tonight – everyone is ridiculously excited! We tried the French Bread last night, and it didn’t even last 2 hours! It is heaven on a pan fresh out of the oven! I couldn’t stop myself from cutting another piece, just to taste it…and another…and another. Hubby and I could seriously live on bread alone!! Making it again today on [kind] demand! 😉

    My loaves looked more like baguettes, and your loaf looks so big and wonderful! I was just wondering what might cause the difference? Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Suzi – I’m glad you like the bread recipe! The end shape result is probably related to how we both form our loaves. When I shape my loaves to put on the pan they are fairly puffy and large to begin with (probably about 4 inches across) and then of course they get bigger as they rise and bake. Either way, I’m glad your bread turned out!

  102. marjorie says:

    Hi! I tried this recipe yesterday and Im amazed on how good it was. Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous recipe. My bread did not really have the nice rectangular baguette shape, and the I was having a little trouble cutting the gashes at the top of the bread. I think I should’ve added a little more flour?
    But other than that…OH MY GOD! It tasted great and my family looooved it. We only have 1/2 baguette left.

    Thanks, again

  103. Whitney says:

    Great, thank you!! 🙂

  104. Whitney says:

    This is sooo good, and sooo easy!! We had it for dinner tonight and we ate one loaf (I could have eaten the whole loaf by myself, but somehow restrained). Will the other loaf still taste this good tomorrow, or should I put it in the freezer?

    • Mel says:

      Whitney – the loaf won’t taste quite as fresh the day after, although it can be helped along by sprinkling it with a few drops of water and putting it in a warm (350-ish) oven for a few minutes. We still eat this the day after and love it but beyond that, I usually freeze it.

  105. Hassan says:

    I’m a relatively new bread baker and I’ve tried a lot of different recipes for french bread, but yours is my favorite. It works every time I’ve tried to make it, and my relatives love it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  106. Melissa says:

    Just had this for dinner – it was so, so, so good!! So easy to make too!

  107. Lucy says:

    I love making this bread. I can’t believe I can make a loaf of bread that looks so good and tastes great. Thank you! I like to freeze slices of this and then pull a few out to make french toast with when I get a hankering for some really, really good french toast. We just had it for breakfast this morning, in fact.

  108. Bliss says:

    Mel, it works wonderfully frozen! I could LIVE off of hot French Bread and globs of butter. (I think it’s because I was born and raised in South Louisiana) This hits the spot when I miss being further south. If you ever need a great Gumbo or Jambalaya recipe, I’ll be more than happy to share 😀

    • Mel says:

      Bliss – thanks for checking in on the frozen french bread. I agree, I could live on french bread (and butter) alone! And I would love a gumbo or jambalaya recipe – I’ve actually been looking around for a good one of either of those!

  109. Bliss says:

    Oh My Gosh! This bread almost put me into a coma! It’s SO good! Never thought making French Bread was this easy… I’ll never buy it from the store again!

    Now, could you freeze the loaf right before you’d bake it to make later? Or would you need to freeze it before that final rise?

    • Mel says:

      Bliss – we must be BFF’s because good french bread is balm to my soul and I hear you on it being coma-worthy. If you were to freeze it, I would do it before you let it go through the final rise. Then pop it out of the freezer, let it defrost and go through that final rise and then it can be baked.

  110. JoAnn says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t left a comment for this bread before! I love it. It just came out of the oven, I spread hot butter on it, and the kids are in heaven.

  111. Katy R says:

    I made this for a french toast breakfast and it was delicious!!! It held up so well with the egg mixture, never once got soggy in the middle! Thank you for sharing!

    • Mel says:

      Katy – I may have to use this bread for french toast based on your recommendation. I’ve never done that but always seem to have it on hand…glad it was delish!

  112. Emily Marie says:

    I made this to go with homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs tonight, and it was perfect! I forgot the egg wash, but that didn’t stop us from loving it – my husband kept going on about my “restaurant quality meal.” 🙂 Besides the fantastic taste, I loved that it only took 2 hours from start to finish! Thanks for a wonderful french bread recipe, I’ll def. be using this again!

  113. Melissa J says:

    Sorry for being dense (it is me, not you) but what does this mean, “Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal.”

    I am excited to make this on Saturday but don’t want to make any mistakes.

    Thank you for all of your inspiring recipes.

    • Mel says:

      Melissa J – you aren’t dense, I promise! The instructions mean to start at one of the long ends of the 9X13 inch rectangle and roll the dough up into a tight log – then just pinch the edges together so it creates a good seal. Does that make sense??

  114. Mel says:

    Sonya – what a great idea to make mini loaves. Love it! Thanks for letting me know these worked out for you!

  115. Sonya says:

    I made these today as a test run for Easter dinner. I’m making shredded beef sandwiches and wanted to make homemade rolls. I made the loaf into mini loafs so we can each have our own and they are wonderful. Thanks for another great bread recipe.

  116. Mel says:

    Molly – I for sure would be declaring the grilled bread the official starch of summer. Love that! Thanks for letting me know this was a hit.

  117. Molly says:

    Made this over the weekend as a treat- french toast, etc. On a whim, I grilled a few buttered slices with a steak dinner to rave reviews. Grilled bread has now been declared the official starch of summer, surpassing the potato. Thank you for a great bread recipe. 🙂

  118. […] very popular meal around my house is soft roll or bread dough rolled out and filled with simple ingredients (usually diced ham and cheese) and then braided […]

  119. Melanie says:

    The Ones In Colorado – yay! I’m so glad you liked it. That sounds FABULOUS to use with french dips. Anonymous – I always use active dry yeast because it is what I buy in bulk and it works for most of my recipes (assuming the yeast dissolves in the water first).

  120. Kevin says:

    That looks good! Fresh homemade bread is one of the best things!

  121. Laura says:

    This sounds just like the recipe that I use. I love it!

  122. Melanie says:

    Thanks everyone for your nice comments! That’s why I love the blogging world – you always feel like a million bucks. 🙂

  123. Angie says:

    Ohhhhh – myyyyy! My stomach is growling – yummy!

  124. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – glad to know about the Aunt Marilyn connection and really glad to know you liked this bread. We love dipping it in olive oil and vinegar, too!

  125. TheOnesInColorado says:

    We made this tonight with French dips. It is great! I have been wondering how to make French bread and now I can. 🙂 Thank you!

  126. Melanie says:

    Domestic Kate – thanks for trying this and letting me know you liked it! I clicked over to your blog and your bread looks fantastic!

  127. Mandy says:

    Oh my yumminess! One of my kids’ favorite dinners is cheese, fresh french bread, & aged basalmic vinegar to “dip”. I’ve never been able to master french bread but I am going to try this recipe this week! Thanks for sharing!

  128. Katie says:

    What a beautiful loaf of bread! I love your blog 🙂

  129. grace says:

    that’s a nice-looking loaf o’ bread. soft and dense, you say? sounds fabulous to me.

  130. Domestic Kate says:

    Thanks for posting! I never thought I could actually make homemade French bread, but this recipe was pretty easy, and it tasted fantastic.

  131. Melanie says:

    Yay, Elizabeth! I’m glad it turned out for you. This is one of my favorite bread recipes!

  132. PheMom says:

    Well, let another recipe I know I’ll be trying very soon. Your loaf looks wonderful!

  133. Liz says:

    I made this today and it is fantastic! I will not be buying french bread from the store anymore!

  134. Erin says:

    So glad you like this! It IS fabulous! 🙂 You’re getting me in the mood now. 🙂

  135. RecipeGirl says:

    Good to know that this one’s a keeper. I’ve been wanting to make my own French bread for ages! Thanks for the recipe.

  136. Steph says:

    Yum. There is nothing like a hot fresh loaf of homemade french bread. Great recipe, I think I’ll be giving this one a try!

  137. Anonymous says:

    Melanie, I found out about this site thru “Aunt Marilyn”. I try recipes here all the time. Tried the french bread and it was a big hit with everyone, especially when dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum!

  138. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your quick reply. I can’t wait for the morning so I can buy the ingredients to make this and amaze my family!

  139. Anonymous says:

    What type of yeast is best for this recipe?

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