We make most things from scratch around here.  I’ve made sandwich bread for years, but my favorite is French bread.  We all love it so much that I’ve even started making sandwiches with it!  Yep- PBJs on soft French bread is what’s for lunch around here.  Of course it makes a perfect companion for any soup or salad, and also makes great garlic bread.  We even love it plain or with butter.  You really can’t go wrong with homemade soft French bread.

My favorite part about French bread in general is the soft, yummy inside.  I have never been a big fan of the crunchy outer crust.  That’s why I love this soft French bread.  It’s ALL soft, outside and in.

For those of you who are intimidated by any sort of homemade bread, I made a complete photo tutorial to make it super easy for you.  Trust me– you’ll want to give this recipe a try.

Will homemade French bread save me money?

I know what you skeptics are thinking.  A loaf of French bread costs a dollar or two at the grocery store.  Why would you want to spend time making your own?  How could that really save money?

Have you ever gone to the store and walked out with just French bread?  I didn’t think so.  While the loaf itself isn’t going to break your budget, you will inevitably pick up more than just bread when you drop by intending to just grab a loaf to go with your spaghetti.

Oh, and trust me when I say it’s SO much better than what’s been sitting in a paper bag at the store for who knows how long.

Are you ready?  I’ll start with the recipe intertwined with the photo tutorial.  Scroll to the bottom for the printable version.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Hot Water
  • 2 Cups Hot Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Oil
  • 6+ Cups Flour, divided
  • Butter

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup hot water.  Let sit.

In a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl), mix 2 cups hot water, salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour.

 

Add yeast mixture.

 

Mix until incorporated.  Add in 3 more cups of flour and mix until dough pulls away from sides and forms a ball.  You may have to add up to 1/2 cup more flour.  You want the dough so that it isn’t too sticky to touch.

 

When dough is a nice consistency, move to a floured surface. Knead 30 times.

 

 

When I knead, I fold the top of the dough down on itself and push with the heels of my hands.  Then I turn the dough 90 degrees, fold the top down and push again.  Each time I push down the dough, I count.

 

Set a timer for 10 minutes and allow the dough to rise.  When it beeps, come back and knead the dough about 20 times.  Set the timer again and repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 kneading sessions.  I use wheat flour to roll out the dough, even though I make the bread with white flour.

 

Divide the dough in half.  Take the first half of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle.  The length of the rectangle should be approximately the length you want your bread.  It takes some persistence to get the dough rolled out, as it likes to stretch then shrink back.  It will have lots of air bubbles in it that you will be rolling out.  It reminds me of bubbles in silly putty.  Try going from the middle out to each corner.  You might have to get out your muscles and show it who’s boss.  In time you’ll end up with a nice-looking rectangle.

 

Starting on a long side, roll the dough up to form the loaf.  Tuck the ends under and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

 

Using a serrated knife (I use a steak knife), cut three or four diagonal slashes on the top.  Cut deep enough that it goes through a couple of layers of dough.

 

Form the second loaf the same way.

If you want you can brush with egg whites.  Call me lazy, but I always skip this step.

Allow loaves to rise for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes or until they’re just past golden brown.

 

After removing from oven, use a stick of butter to coat the top and sides of the loaf.  The butter keeps the crust nice and soft, and gives a nice shine and that yummy buttery taste.

 

Cut with a bread knife and serve warm (but it’s delicious when it’s cool too).

I love this homemade soft French bread. It’s ALL soft, outside and in. The method is different than regular loaf bread, but with a photo tutorial and recipe it's easy!

Soft French Bread

 

Soft and delicious French bread goes great with any meal, but is good enough to eat on its own!

Author:

Serves: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ½ Cup Hot Water
  • 2 Cups Hot Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 5 Tablespoons Oil
  • 6+ Cups Flour, divided
  • Butter

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and ½ cup hot water. Let sit.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups hot water, salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour.
  3. Add yeast mixture. Mix until incorporated.
  4. Add in 3 more cups of flour and mix until dough pulls away from sides and forms a ball. You may have to add ½ cup more flour. You want the dough so that it isn’t too sticky to touch.
  5. When dough is a nice consistency, move to a floured surface. Knead 30 times.
  6. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When it beeps, come back and knead the dough 20 times. Set the timer again and repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 kneading sessions.
  7. Divide the dough in half. Take the first half of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle. The length of the rectangle should be approximately the length you want your bread. It takes some persistence to get the dough rolled out, as it likes to stretch then shrink back. It will have lots of air bubbles in it that you will be rolling out. Try going from the middle out to each corner. You might have to get out your muscles and show it who’s boss. In time you’ll end up with a nice-looking rectangle.
  8. Starting on a long side, roll the dough up to form the loaf. Tuck the ends under and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  9. Using a serrated knife (I use a steak knife), cut three or four diagonal slashes on the top. Cut deep enough that it goes through a couple layers of dough.
  10. Form second loaf the same way.
  11. If you want you can brush with egg whites.
  12. Allow loaves to rise for 30 minutes.
  13. Turn the oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes or until they’re just passing golden brown.
  14. After removing from oven, use a stick of butter to coat the top and sides of the loaf

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