.

Perfect Vegan French Bread

This french bread recipe is easy and happens to be vegan too! Many people seem to think that making bread is difficult and tricky, or that they need a bread maker machine. I would say, not so! It’s best to just dive right in with this simple recipe. Make enough loaves and before long you won’t even need to measure anything.

Finished French Bread

Finished Fresh Vegan French Bread

Long time readers may recognize this post as I posted it a year ago. However, I lost it after an unfortunate incident last November. Fortunately, I found it again after organizing my old computer folders!



Recipe Backstory

I first learned how to make bread in Grade 8 Home Economics class. Thank you, Vancouver Public School System! That year, I went through a phase when I would make bread every other night for my sandwich the next day. That made for some pretty late nights and I never let the dough rise quite as long as I should have. Made for some very dense loaves. Over the years, I haven’t become more patient. Instead, I come up with other things to do while the bread is rising. In fact, in the first version of this recipe post, the photo I used showed flat loaves that resembled elongated ciabatta buns. That’s because I was too distracted with my other activities that I left the loaves to rise TOO long. If they are left too long to rise, they will eventually fall.

fallen french bread

Oops. Left this loaf to rise waaay too long. It fell and now it’s flat and spongy like a ciabatta bun.

Here are some other tips for making fluffy, crusty French Bread Baguettes:

  • Give yourself enough time. From start to finish, this recipe takes a good 2 hours to make. That’s not including cooling time. If you don’t give enough time for the dough to rise, you’ll end up really dense loaves. Not always a bad thing, but it makes a big difference.
  • Use a spray bottle with a fine mist. This really helps get that thick crispy crust. Other recipes add steam to the oven by getting you to pour water into a hot oven. That’s too dangerous for me. Really. I am the clumsiest.
  • Don’t slice this bread before it’s cooled. You can eat the bread after it’s cooled down some by pulling it apart, but I’d advise against slicing it until it’s completely room temperature. Otherwise the slices may be gummy. Actually, this applies to all types of bread.

For a more traditional French Bread recipe that has fewer ingredients but does require a little more patience, click here. There’s also a video tutorial to help!

Vegan French Bread Recipe

Perfect Vegan French Bread
 
Cuisine: French
Author: Mary
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Crusty french bread with a light airy interior.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast (traditional or instant)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter alternative (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar, and a half cup of flour. Mix well and let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the melted Earth Balance and salt.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour and mix with a spoon until it all comes together into a dough. You can also use your hands.
  4. Prepare a large surface for kneading the dough by dusting it liberally with flour. Flour your hands too while you’re at it.
  5. Turn the dough out on to the floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. You may need to add a little flour to keep the dough from sticking but try not to add too much. Otherwise, the dough will become too tough.
  6. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with a wet cloth or partially with a lid. You want to keep the dough from drying out, but still allow for some air circulation.
  7. Let rest in a warm place for an hour or until the dough is doubled in size. I find that the warmer my kitchen is, the faster the dough rises.
  8. Once the dough is doubled in size, turn it out on to a flour surface once more. Divide the dough into 2 or 4 equal portions.
  9. To shape the dough into baguette shapes, roll the dough into a ball first. Then flatten it with the heel of your hands. Roll it up, then tuck in the ends, pinching them to seal. Repeat with the remaining loaf or loaves.
  10. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  11. Lay the loaves onto the parchment paper with pinched ends down. Give enough room between the loaves for them to double in size.
  12. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut diagonal slits across the tops of the loaves, about 1 ½ inches apart.
  13. Spray the tops of the loaves with a fine mist of water. Then let rest for 30 – 45 minutes.
  14. Preheat oven to 400F.
  15. Spray the loaves one more time with water, the bake for a total of 20 minutes (give or take according to your oven temp). After 10 minutes, give it a few more spritzes of water.
  16. When done, the loaves should be nicely golden on top and if you tap the bottom, they should sound hollow.
  17. Let cool before serving.
 

 

Three pictures of the first steps of this french bread recipe.

Pic 1: mixing the yeast, sugar, water, and first bit of flour.
Pic 2: Yeast mixture after 10 minutes of rest.
Pic 3: dough coming together.

Pictures showing the difference between unrisen and risen dough.

Make sure you use a large enough bowl to allow the dough to rise completely.

Pictures showing risen and unrisen french loaves.

Be sure to use a very sharp knife to cut slits on the tops of the loaves. The slits allow the loaves to rise evenly.

french bread baguettes

Beautiful finished french bread baguettes!

Showing 16 comments
  • Abbas Fathy
    Reply

    Thank you for the nice recipe. We need more baking recipes.

    • Mary
      Reply

      You’re most welcome!

  • Audrey
    Reply

    This isn’t French bread 😉
    (I’m French)
    There is no butter or sugar in French bread, just wild yeast, flour, salt and water, and it has to rise a lot more than that. What you did is some kind of brioched bread that we call “pain viennois” wich means bread from Vienna. This isn’t French although you can find it in some bakeries.
    If you want it to be French bread you have to remove butter and sugar, it would resemble our “baguette”.
    Real bread is always vegan, dear 🙂

    • Mary
      Reply

      Hi Audrey,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I have no doubt that “real” french bakeries have their own method. This version is easy, takes not so much time, and comes out soft on the inside, crusty on the outside. Perfect for beginner bakers. In North America, you may find we are not so strict about what is classed as “french bread.” Kind of how we call pizza an Italian food but the pizza here is nothing like what they serve in Italy. Here in Calgary, Alberta, I’ve found the air so dry that I do add Earth Balance to help the bread last longer without going stale. In Vancouver, I may not have to do that. I add the sugar to help the bread rise faster.
      If you have your own recipe to share, that would be fantastic! I would love to learn french food from someone who is actually French.

      Cheers!

      • Audrey
        Reply

        Have you tried replacing Earth Balance with olive oil? It would give your bread a less “brioche”-like type if you want to taste something closer to French bread 🙂
        I recommend this site which has a lot of recipes (I haven’t translated mines and I haven’t used a recipe for years to be honest so I’m not sure I’d give you accurate quantities) and will tell you how to make your own sourdough from scratch (sourdough is what I use):
        http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aulevain.canalblog.com&hl=fr&ie=UTF8&sl=fr&tl=en
        In no time you’ll be able to do something like that, it just takes a little practice and patience 🙂
        http://i37.servimg.com/u/f37/10/07/01/87/pain_a11.jpg
        You can then replace any yeast with your sourdough in brioches, any bread varieties, pizza crust, donuts…
        Have fun!

        • Gabi
          Reply

          Hi/Salut
          Audrey – could you share a baguette recipe that is not sourdough?
          Merci!

    • E.I.
      Reply

      Oh Dear God!! Get a life lady, who cares about your french bread… 🙁

  • Ravi K
    Reply

    I think the reality is that in North America we take food from everywhere around the world and change it to make us fat and sick :-D. You only have to look around to see the truth to that. Audrey, I absolutely LOVED the bread in France when I was visiting last year, and I also love the fact that you said “all real bread is Vegan” not many people know this because all they see and eat in America is adulterated and processed junk from grocery stores. I get my bread from a local Breadsmith who makes both kinds, one for the people who know and appreciate the real bread and one for the sugar and fat addicted population :-).

  • Sheri Vega
    Reply

    Thank you for this recipe.
    I am new to making bread.
    I hope this goes well.

  • Khia
    Reply

    I know this is an older post, but searching for vegan sub/hoagie/baguette recipes is my thing. I’m a bread loving vegan and this is by far the best my bread has turned out. (Granted it’s only the 4/5 time I’ve made bread) Thank you so much for the recipe and the photos for us visual learners! It turned out amazing!!!

  • Gabi
    Reply

    Hi/Salut Audrey
    Can you share your version of the baguette (without sourdough).
    Merci

  • Beth B
    Reply

    I am an adventurous cook, but rarely delve into baking, because it always seems so technical, and my forays into baking usually don’t result very well. Am having friends for dinner tonight for a Calamari dinner that goes fabulous with bread to mop up the broth (awesome recipe, have made this dozens of time & it is so flavorful & fresh… http://www.food.com/recipe/calamari-mediterranean-132569) and one of the friends is severely allergic to eggs so I thought what the heck, I’ll try making my own bread…& found your recipe.

    I found the kneading dough part therapeutic…who knew?

    I made 2 loaves, one as prescribed, and one with some rosemary & shaved parmesan atop it. Turned out beautifully! They are cooling at present, so I can’t wait to try a bite soon. The heck with my low carb diet today!

    Thanks so much for sharing…

pingbacks / trackbacks

Leave a Comment

Roasted cheesy brussels sprouts fresh out of the ovenvegan apple honey and apples