I always say I’m not a bread person but if you give me a great loaf of warm, crusty bread that’s still soft and chewy in the middle, I’ll probably gnaw your arm off to get some.
The beauty of this bread is it takes full advantage of fast-rising or quick-rising yeast. This makes it possible to knock out a loaf of French bread in less than 2 hours.
I’ve made a lot of homemade bread and this one is 3 of my favorite things in the kitchen:
Are you with me?
This only makes one loaf so feel free to double this recipe if you want 2 loaves. It keeps and freezes well, I just love it fresh out of the oven.
Quick and Easy French Bread Recipe
- 2 1/4 cups flour + 1 cup more to work the dough with
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 package fast rising or quick rise yeast
- 1 cup hot (125 degrees) water
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt and yeast.
Add the hot water all at once and mix well.
Drop your dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, adding your extra cup of flour a little at a time. The key here is this: keep adding your extra flour just enough to keep the dough supple but still a little sticky. It shouldn’t be a sticky mess – if it is, keep working in your extra flour reserve – but don’t add so much flour that it becomes dry and flaky. A little moistness is good here.
Once it’s reached a firm but slightly sticky ball, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, grease a baking sheet. If you’d like, sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of cornmeal on the oiled pan.
Once rested, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Rolling from the 15-inch side, roll the dough up like a jelly roll and pinch the end together to seal. Place on baking sheet, seam side down.
Cover and let rest for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Using a sharp knife, slice a few diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across the top of the loaf.
Bake the loaf in a 425 oven for 25-30 minutes. Let rest if you can wait that long, otherwise, if you’re like me, slice right in and enjoy.
Now you know you can customize this a bit if you’d like:
- Right before baking, brush with a mixed wash of 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water for an extra-crispy crust
- Toss a few teaspoons of herbs or chunks of roasted garlic into the dough before kneading
- Try it with your favorite flour or a mix of flours
I hope you’ll try this! Imagine it warm out of the oven with some lovely jam or fruity olive oil. Again, it’s easy, fast (for bread) and absolutely delicious.