Crusty French Loaf

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 25 min.


1 loaf (16 pieces)

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
A delicate texture makes this French bread absolutely wonderful. I sometimes use this French bread recipe to make breadsticks, which I brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. —Deanna Naivar, Temple, Texas


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a 16x2-1/2-in. loaf with tapered ends. Sprinkle cornmeal over a greased baking sheet; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
  4. Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Crusty French Bread Tips

How do you proof yeast?

Don't be hesitant to work with yeast. Proofing yeast is simple. Just grab some warm water, a bit of sugar and yeast and mix together. The yeast should bubble and froth. Just keep an eye on the temperature.

How do you make bread soft and fluffy?

Wondering why your bread is so dense? Want fluffy bread instead? Make sure you're giving the bread dough enough time to proof. To proof bread, make sure you have a warm space in your home. Warmth and humidity will help the yeast to grow and bubble up. These gas bubbles will help make your bread nice and airy. For more tips, check out our ultimate bread guide.

Lisa Kaminski, Taste of Home Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 109 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.