Basic French Bread

By request.... this is my go-to bread recipe, which never lasts the night in my house. It uses olive oil, and I recommend using a high-quality one for best results. If you are so inclined to use a flavored olive oil, it will make a flavorful bread. You can scatter dried herbs on the dough when you bake it for yummy results.

I use my stand mixer for this. If you don't have one, stir the dough with a wooden spoon and knead by hand for 10 minutes. That's really boring, so I prefer the stand mixer.

I add a couple of tablespoons of bread enhancer as well, but I haven't been able to find it in a while. You'll get fine results without it. I also recommend using bread flour rather than all-purpose, but your mileage may vary.


1 packet dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. warm water
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy. (I find it sometimes takes 10 minutes if the house is cold.)

Fit a dough hook on your stand mixer. Add 2 c. flour, olive oil and salt. Process with dough hook on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Scrape down sides if you need to.

Pause the mixer and add another 1/2 c. flour. Turn the mixer up to medium and process for 5 minutes. You should have a smooth and elastic dough.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. (I generally spray a batter bowl with Pam spray, but you can also use ordinary oil rubbed with a paper towel. Don't waste olive oil on this part.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour, until doubled in size. (It may grow even larger.)

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, or lightly grease the surface with cooking spray. I use a silicone mat on a baking stone. Form the dough into a round shape or batard. Use a serrated knife to make a few slits in the surface of the loaf.

Then cover it with a bread cloth and give it at least another 20 minutes to continue rising. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. (In my oven it takes 22 minutes.) Cool completely before slicing, and enjoy!