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Crusty French Bread

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
    2 loaves (10 slices each)


  • 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


  • 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 until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Turn onto a floured surface. Divide in half; let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into a 10x8-in. rectangle. Roll up from a long side; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on 2 greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • With a very sharp knife, make 5 diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf. Bake at 400° until lightly browned, 20-30 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.
Nutrition 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.
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  • danielleylee
    Jan 8, 2018

    I made this for guests with homemade chicken noodle soup! It had a beautiful presentation. Very simple

  • milltownt
    Jan 4, 2018

    This is my go to for Crusty Bread. It is so easy and taste great.

  • Potempa
    Nov 27, 2017

    Great, tasty and easy to make. We just loved it

  • alcercone
    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.

  • John
    Apr 16, 2017

    No comment left

  • Beth
    Apr 13, 2016

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

  • Orbs
    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
    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
    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
    Feb 17, 2015

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