French Bread

    2 hours 45 mins

    A crisp, crunchy crust and slightly chewy center make this bread as traditional as the breads served in France.

    1043 people made this

    Serves: 30 

    • 6 cups )750g) plain flour
    • 2 1/2 (8g) packages active dry yeast
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 cups warm water 45 degrees C (110 degrees F)
    • 1 tablespoon cornmeal or polenta
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 tablespoon water

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Extra time:1hr30min proofing  ›  Ready in:2hr45min 

    1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups (250g) flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups (500ml) warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
    2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
    3. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
    4. Grease a large baking tray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
    5. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about .5cm deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 190 degrees C (375 degrees F ) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking tray, and cool on a wire rack.

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    Reviews in English (966)


    This is my go to bread recipe for casual baking. I enjoy the denser quality of this bread, and ease of preparation. It's a simple recipe, broken down into logical steps. Results are consistent. In it's original format I find it a bit bland, so I increase the salt and yeast to suit my taste. I also use the whole egg ( yolk and white) for the wash, This gives the loaves a pleasing final color.  -  18 Dec 2017


    Quick disclaimer...I loved this recipe; great crust with a soft, yet, chewy center. With that said, I'll poke some holes in the instructions. First, the recipe does say 2 and 1/2 half packages of yeast--there was some confusion among previous reviewers. So...1 pg. of active dry yeast = .25 ounces or 2 and 1/2 teaspoons per packet. I used 5 teaspoons of yeast in my trial batch and it went well. Secondly, most people (like me) may want to add more salt and some butter. The trial batch came out a bit bland. I'm going to add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of butter. Since butter is only 15% water, one tablespoon shouldn't affect your total liquids that much. One last note, the first rise in my trial batch doubled in 30 minutes. Luckily the bench proof added another 40 minutes to the rise. With those adjustments made, this recipe is definitely a keeper.  -  08 Sep 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    All I can say is "Wow". I tried this recipe twice. The first time I made this, I found the bread to be a bit too dense, but the second time, I added a pinch more yeast and only used 5 cups of flour. I made a nice long baguette and brushed the loaves with just a beaten egg white (left out the water) and I got a nice crust and a lighter loaf. Has come out perfect every time.  -  01 Feb 2003  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)