Mom's French Bread

If you knew my mom, I'm positive you've had her french bread.

She freely gave away the recipe and baked loaves of this goodness.
french bread 1

It was a family classic growing up, and I've kept the tradition alive in my own little family.
I thought for sure I needed to share it with all my "blog friends." (This might be one of the best treasures I share).
The best part is that it really is EASY. Only one rise, one bowl, one pan and just a few ingredients. Yeah!!!!

I do this in my kitchen aid mixer, so I proof the yeast right in that bowl.
Use 1/4 c warm water (105-110 degree water will work the very best).
(If I'm being picky, use filtered water and warm it in the microwave.
Tap water can have different stuff that can kill the yeast a little).
Dissolve 1 Tbsp sugar in the water.
Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. yeast on top of the water.
proof yeast

Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it is foamy, or "proofed."
Then you add:
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. oil
1/3 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup if I want it to be a really sweet french bread).

Mix a little with your dough hook, then start adding in....
3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour
(Start with 3 1/2 and add more if it isn't stiff enough.
Dough should form into a ball after mixing with the dough hook
for a couple minutes, but it should be very sticky to the touch).

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
flour surface

With floured hands roll it into a long loaf.
You are not incorporating/kneading in more flour, just forming a loaf.
rolled out

Now dust off excess flour and transfer it onto a sheet pan.
I prefer using sil pat sheets, but if you don't have them then grease the pan first.
I {heart} sil pats, but that's another post.
on the pan

Then you should make 1/4 inch deep cuts in your bread, to allow it to rise more easily.
But sometimes I forget. This time I did.
Now cover it with a clean dish towel (so it won't get crusty) and walk away.

Let it rise for 2-3 hours. 80 degrees is ideal, but I just put it under a warm window.
rise 1

Bake it in a 400 degree oven for 17-20 minutes.
It should be nice and brown, or it won't be cooked all the way through.

Right after you take it out of the oven, rub butter on the crust to make it soft and yummy.
It will quickly soak in.

I love it because I can do this before my kids get home,
then let it rise during the afternoon rush and it is all ready to be baked at dinner time.

Sometimes if lessons go a little long, it gets a little over-risen... and its still good, just a little extra airy.
rise 2

This makes a big loaf and I've halved it into two skinny loaves before too. Just reduce the bake time.
It looks fancy when you braid it too. My mom usually did.
I even remember that she once shaped a loaf into a dinosaur for my little brother.
But that's my mom, she's cool like that.
You can also top it with poppy seeds, or any seasonings and make it hearty!
Some top it with nutella. Some with italian dressing.
Make it your own, and make it for your family.

This is a little piece of Kathryn, me and my Mom. Enjoy!
french bread 2


  1. I've been thinking of making french bread lately. The bread looks gorgeous!

  2. Yum. This is very similar to my grandma's recipe. One year in college I made it, and added green food coloring to the liquid for St. Patrick's day. Good times.

  3. I have the original card I wrote it on! It's the best recipe ever!

  4. That's awesome, Erica! I love it when people tell me they still use her recipe. My kids call it Sunday bread because almost every Sunday I make it before church (and I mean in the 10 min when I should be in the car instead of getting flour on my skirt) and when we get home, it's ready to pop in the oven. 17 min later, yummy hot bread. Great idea, Chris! We have also braided it and shaped it like a candy cane at Christmas. My family likes when I brush garlic flavored olive oil on the dough and sprinkle dry italian dressing mix on it before it rises. Beautiful pics as usual, Ash. But, I really wish it was Sunday cause I want some now! :)

  5. We Doxeys have been using her recipe for years. Just made it last week. :)

  6. Help, I can't see the photo's in your blog posts anymore, on this or your family blog :( Any suggestions? Heidi

  7. Such great memories of making this bread with your mom and eating it with all of you guys!

  8. Hey Ashleigh - do you braid the dough before you let it rise, and then just let it rise braided? I am a fancy-bread amateur

  9. I can't wait to try this. I want to get started baking my own bread.


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