Crusty French Bread Recipe
Crusty French Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Crusty French Bread Recipe

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4.5 21 24
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I love to treat guests to these golden brown, crusty loaves. Don't hesitate to try this recipe even if you are not an accomplished bread baker, there's no kneading required! —Christy Freeman, Central Point, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:20 servings
Diabetic Exchange Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 20 servings


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon shortening, melted
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Analysis: One slice equals 100 calories, 233 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 20 gm carbohydrate, 3 gm protein, 1 gm fat. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch.


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. Add the sugar, salt, shortening, remaining water and 3-1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Do not knead. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface. Divide in half; let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up from a long side; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  3. With a very sharp knife, make five diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (10 slices each).
Originally published as Crusty French Bread in Taste of Home February/March 1999, p31

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Reviewed Apr. 13, 2016

"This is my go to bread for church suppers. So simple to make and never any left overs."

Reviewed Nov. 25, 2015

"Delicious and moist. I served one loaf immediately; and froze the other loaf for later. Thank you, Christy, for sharing this recipe."

Reviewed Apr. 29, 2015

"Good recipe but I let my bread proof for 8 to 14 hours in the warm room of the house. I put it in a big bowl and cover with plastic wrap. If you have a wooden bowl, I recommend it for an even temperature.

This bread comes out sticky, so knead it slightly and let if rest for about 30 minutes. I use this for bread, focaccia, and it makes a great pizza crust. The flavor is delicious with a little sour dough flavor the longer you let it proof. : )"

Reviewed Mar. 15, 2015

"When I'm making bread I put it in the oven with the oven light on. Works great. Haven't tried this one but sounds good."

Reviewed Feb. 17, 2015

"@dundalk - Some times when I make bread I use a heating pad to help the bread rise"

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