French Bread

If you over­cook French bread it gets too hard. Not to wor­ry; you can use it to attack Inspec­tor Clouseau!

  • Ingré­di­ents!
  • 2 ¼ cups warm water, 110–115 degrees F
  • 2 tbsp. gran­u­lat­ed sugar
  • 1 tbsp. yeast (see note)
  • 2 ¼ tsp salt (see note)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, canola oil, veg­etable oil or avo­ca­do oil
  • 5 ½ – 6 cups all-pur­pose flour or bread flour


Com­bine the water, sug­ar and yeast in a bowl to proof the yeast. Let the mix­ture bub­ble and foam before pro­ceed­ing; 3–5 minutes. 

Add the salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and mix. Add in 2 12 to 3 more cups of flour grad­u­al­ly. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and form a soft ball that does­n’t leave a lot of dough residue on your fingers.

Place on a light­ly floured sur­face knead for 2–3 min­utes until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour until it’s a smooth firm ball.

Trans­fer the dough to a light­ly greased bowl and cov­er with a tow­el or greased plas­tic wrap. Let the dough rise until dou­bled, about an hour or so.

Turn the dough onto a light­ly greased sur­face and divide in half. Pat each sec­tion into a thick rec­tan­gle, 9x13-inch­es-ish. Roll the dough up start­ing from the long edge, press­ing out any air bub­bles or seams with the heel of your hand, and pinch the edge to seal. Arrange seam side down on a large bak­ing sheet lined with parch­ment paper.

Cov­er the loaves with greased plas­tic wrap or a kitchen tow­el, and let rise until notice­ably puffy and near­ly dou­bled in size, about an hour. With a sharp knife, cut sev­er­al gash­es at an angle on the top each loaf (you can wait to score the bread until after it ris­es, but it can eas­i­ly deflate if the razor/knife isn’t sharp enough).

Pre­heat the oven to 375° and make sure an oven rack is in the cen­ter posi­tion. If you find your bread isn’t brown­ing as much as you like, pre­heat the oven to 400 or 425 degrees and/or move the oven rack up one posi­tion (watch care­ful­ly so the bread, espe­cial­ly the bot­tom, does­n’t burn).

Bake the loaves for 25–30 min­utes until gold­en and baked through.
If desired, brush melt­ed but­ter over the hot loaves (this soft­ens the crust a bit, so if you want a crispi­er crust, don’t but­ter the top).