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

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4.5 22 26
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I love to treat guests to these crusty French bread loaves. Don't hesitate to try this recipe even if you are not an accomplished bread baker. It's so easy because there's no kneading required! —Christy Freeman, Central Point, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:20 servings
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

1 slice: 100 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 233mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein. 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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alcercone User ID: 6795181 268112
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2017

"One of the easiest bread recipes I've tried and more flavor than I expected. Served one of the two loaves for dinner with family and they all raved about it. I substituted melted butter for the shortening and couldn't find my corn meal, but it still turned out great. I will enjoy the second loaf for breakfast toast and sandwiches for lunch."

BW52 User ID: 6671153 247023
Reviewed Apr. 13, 2016

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

Orbs User ID: 7287623 238111
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."

I_Fortuna User ID: 8342880 225608
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. : )"

gpier57 User ID: 6861978 222844
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."

paulsmick User ID: 833946 220746
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2015

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

Equus5O User ID: 4777392 220378
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2015

"@ dundalk - try putting your bowl of dough in the oven to rise. You can pre-heat it to just barely warm, turn it off and put the bowl in and close the oven door."

[email protected] User ID: 7234381 219761
Reviewed Feb. 4, 2015

"Would love to try this but my house is always cold. Any ideas on a good place to let it set up, we have no radiators. Have always wanted to make bread."

GoodyQueen User ID: 6208519 218724
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2015

"This is a great bread! I've been looking for an easy French bread recipe for a while. My only issue is the amount of flour. The first time I made this, I added the additional 1/2 cup to make 4 cups total and my dough was far far too dry. The next time I did it I only added about 1/4 cup more and it worked out much better."

wendymarcus User ID: 6613962 202979
Reviewed Mar. 23, 2014

"This bread is great! I used butter flavor shortening and let it cool before I added it. I did use my hands to make it come together into a ball. I live at 7400 foot elevation and I can never get bread to bake properly. This turned out exactly like the pic!"

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