Making bread at home has been truly simplified by bread machines. All you need to do is to put all the ingredients in the right order and select the cycle. Most of the bread machines have a French bread cycle to make French bread at home.
Unlike white bread or other Italian bread, French bread does not have any oil or sugar and is chewy and crusty. They work great for grilled sandwiches or go well with pasta and soups.
This is an easy bread machine French bread recipe made by using the French bread cycle or by making the dough in the bread machine and then shaping and baking the loaf in the oven.
French bread differs from other white bread as it does not have oil and sugar and is made with only our ingredients. It is made with flour, water, salt, and yeast.
Bread machine French bread can be made with all-purpose flour or bread flour. I have had equally good results using the King Arthur flour. Also, instant yeast or bread machine yeast works best for bread machine
Bread machines usually have a "French Bread" setting which is usually longer than the basic white bread cycle. Depending on your brand and the size of the bread maker, there will be a setting to make 1 lb, 1.5 lb, and 2 lb French bread.
There is also a setting to select the crust setting varying from light, medium, to dark. When baking in the bread machine, I prefer to make the French bread on a "dark" crust setting, however, it is a personal preference.
To make French bread from start to finish in the bread machine, place all the ingredients in the order recommended by your bread machine manufacturer. This is a recipe to make a 1.5 lb loaf of crusty French bread in the bread machine, so I select the "French bread" setting with 1.5 lb and dark crust.
Once the cycle is complete, French bread will be ready. Remove the bread from the container immediately by inverting and shaking the container. Place the bread loaf on the cooling rack and slice it only after it has completely cooled down.
If you are planning to bake the French bread in the oven then remove the dough from the bread machine pan just before the last "rise" phase. You can check the manual and set an external timer accordingly.
On a lightly floured surface place the dough and knead it for a few seconds. Shape the dough into a loaf by tucking the edges at the bottom and having a smooth surface at the top.
The texture of French bread loaf baked in the oven is very different than the one directly baked in the bread machine. It is more crusty and has a darker golden brown color as well.
Make a few cuts in the dough with a serrated knife and allow it to rise, for the last time, for about an hour in a warm place. You can also score the bread with a razor blade after the final rise.
Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 400 °F for 30 minutes. If you want a nice shine, you can spray some water on the loaf before baking, or throw a few ice cubes in the oven after placing the loaf in the oven.
The bread must be allowed to cool down on a wire rack before it is sliced. Once cooled completely, it can be sliced using a serrated bread knife or an electric knife. A bread slicer is very useful for slicing bread evenly.
French bread is perfect for making grilled cheese, morning toast, or serving with your favorite soup.
I have used the 2 lb. Hamilton Beach artisan bread maker. Depending on the loaf size and crust setting, French bread can take anywhere from 4 hours 15 minutes to 4 hours 30 minutes.
Depending on your bread machine, the French bread cycle will vary. It is longer than the basic white bread cycle. Since French bread does not have sugar, the yeast takes longer to ferment the dough.
French bread can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days in an air-tight container. It can also be frozen after slicing. It is advisable to not store bread in the fridge as it becomes dry.
How to make light bread?
To get light and fluffy bread aerating the flour by sifting is key. Also, weighing the flour helps in getting consistent results every time as measuring by a cup can add more or less flour than required.
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French Bread | Bread Machine
- Convection Oven
- 420 grams Bread flour (3 ½ cup, or all purpose flour)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 7 grams Instant Yeast or Bread Machine yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp Water (microwave 30 seconds)
Making French Bread in Bread Machine
- Add all the ingredients (water, salt, bread flour, yeast) in the order recommended by your bread machine manufacturer.
- Close the lid, select the "French bread" cycle, 1.5 lb loaf size and crust of your preference (dark is preferred for French bread) and start the cycle.
- French bread is ready once the cycle is complete.
- Remove the container from the bread machine. Invert and shake it a little bit to remove the bread.
- Place it on a cooling rack to cool it down.
- Once cooled down, slice it with an electric knife or a serrated knife.
Baking in Convection Oven
- Remove the dough from the bread machine pan just after the last knead cycle and knead it on a lightly floured surface.
- Shape the dough into a loaf and apply a few cuts using a serrated knife and allow to rise for 60 minutes in a warm place.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 400 °F for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack. Slice it wit a serrated or electric knife.
- Sifting flour provides the aeration needed to make soft dough.
- Weigh the flour instead of measuring with a cup for consistent bread every time.
- Read more about which yeast to use in a bread machine.
This was very crumbly when I followed the recipe. Had to add about a half cup of water.
Alpa Jain says
Did you weigh the flour? Adding 1/2 cup water to this recipe will make the dough very wet.
Seems simple but mine didn’t work at all. It looks gnarled not a smooth ball. I assume not enough water? I followed recipe exactly. Wish I could add photo.
Alpa Jain says
Sorry to hear that it did not turn out smooth for you.
Did you weigh the flour? It is a must to weigh the flour for consistent results.
You may want to watch the dough for the first 5-10 minutes to see if it is dry. Sometimes depending on the ingredients and where you live, you may have to add 1-2 teaspoon of water or flour extra if needed.
Also, some bread machines do not end up with a smooth side. You can check the dough after the last knead cycle and see if the top surface of the dough ball is smooth or not. If not you can just turn it a little to get the smooth side to the top. Or you can shape it and bake in the oven.
Hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out with these tips. Also, please let me know if you have any more questions and I will be happy to help.
what should i adjust if i want a 2lb loaf?
Alpa Jain says
You can adjust the servings from 15 to 20. It will scale the recipe accordingly. Hope this helps.
Megha pandya says
Simple and easy recipe with the best result !
Great! Where did you buy the bread machine?
Thankyou for your query. You can buy a bread machine from any of the major retail stores online. Just search for "Bread maker" or "Bread Machine". Hope this helps.