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Crusty French Bread Recipe

Crusty French Bread Recipe

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 YIELD: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


  • 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 10x8-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).

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.

Reviews for Crusty French Bread

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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!"

cwebb24 User ID: 5257290 68353
Reviewed Mar. 21, 2014

"Has anyone tried this recipe in a bread machine??"

jcstricklin User ID: 1070220 49126
Reviewed Feb. 15, 2014

"Awesome recipe! quick and easy!"

awedacity User ID: 6851859 32474
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2014

"very easy! one of my favorite recipes now!"

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 28198
Reviewed Dec. 9, 2013

"Made exactly by recipe and came out great. Super easy! Nice crusty outside and moist soft inside. (As bread sat, crust got softer, but popped it in the oven for a few minutes and it crisped back up again)."

LCW11281 User ID: 2813520 19692
Reviewed Oct. 23, 2013

"Gave this recipe a try so we would have bread around the house for my husband to snack on. What a great recipe! easy enough for a beginner, but impressive enough for company. I didn't have any trouble with the melted shortening killing my yeast - I watched it closely and pulled it from the microwave as soon as it melted to keep the temperature down. I'll definitely make this recipe again's so good it doesn't last long!"

T5834lp User ID: 6922714 32467
Reviewed Oct. 17, 2012

"Excellent bread and very easy to make! Try it, you'll love it."

shecooksalot User ID: 5888460 49122
Reviewed Jun. 26, 2012

"I am not great at breads, so I loved this recipe with no kneading. It was fairly easy to whip up these loaves and they tasted great."

[email protected] User ID: 77962 85389
Reviewed Dec. 31, 2009

"Super-easy and surprisingly good texture. As far as the melted butter goes, I just substitute oil and avoid the whole temperature problem altogether.

I substitute up to 3 cups of white whole wheat flour and it comes out nicely wheaty!"

JMMRN User ID: 1444320 68350
Reviewed Dec. 4, 2008

"William, I haven't tried this recipe yet, but from experience with other breads, I recommend letting the melted shortening cool to the same temperature as the warm water before you mix in the yeast. Hope that helps."

leanda User ID: 1073037 24926
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2008

"I absolutely LOVE this bread. I lost the magazine issue with this recipe and thank goodness Reiman Publications has this wonderful website where I found the recipe again."

williampye User ID: 3146094 69902
Reviewed May. 28, 2008

"I usually have good luck with bead recipes. I'm new at this and all my other recipes called for kneading the bread so this sounded like a nice change. The dough did not rise as I expected. The yeast is fresh and I think the melted shortening killed all the yeast and dtopped the growth. How do you mlet/add shortening and not kill the yeast? Melted shortening is pretty hot.


badgergirl User ID: 2400926 32069
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2008

"This bread was fabulous, with a crunchy outside, soft inside, and really great flavor!

I did have to knead the dough ten times or so in order to get it to form a ball."

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