Simple Homemade French Bread

This simple homemade French Bread starts with the basics: yeast, water, flour and salt. The baguettes turn out soft and fluffy on the inside, nice and crunchy on the outside. You’ll need a little patience but learning how to make French Bread at home actually requires very little effort!

Click to the printable recipe.

Pin this for later!

Video Tutorial for Simple Homemade French Bread

I have blogged about french bread before; I even posted this recipe which I named Perfect Vegan French Bread. That recipe doesn’t take as long to make and stays moist and fresh longer because of the added Earth Balance buttery spread. It’s really delicious and great especially for dry climates. However, this Simple Homemade French Bread gets closer to the real thing found at bakeries. The crust is much…well, crustier. Like other homemade and bakery breads with no additives, it should be eaten fresh in a day or two. But even if you end up with leftovers, you can make them into croutons, top French onion soup, or make French toast! That’s what I imagine anyway; – I never have leftovers!


Once you get the hang of this recipe, you may find yourself just making it while you do other stuff. The actual “active” time to this recipe is maybe 15 minutes. The rest of the time is waiting for the bread to rise, three times! The wait is worth it though. 

Printable recipe for Simple Homemade French Baguettes

Yield: 4 x 10" loaves

Simple Homemade French Bread

Simple Homemade French Bread

Traditional French Bread is adapted for the home. And like all traditional French Bread, it happens to be vegan! Made with just yeast, water, flour and salt, it bakes up soft inside with a crunchy crust. This bread requires very little effort but you will need a little patience.

You can make 2 long baguettes or 4 smaller personal-sized loaves

Active Time 20 minutes
Proofing/Resting Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Bake Time 25 minutes
Total Time 4 hours


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons traditional or instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour (plus extra flour for kneading)


Make the French bread dough

  1. Combine water with yeast and let bloom for 10 minutes. It will become foamy and you'll see some bubbling live yeast action. If you do not, consult my guide for Troubleshooting Yeast.
  2. Add a half cup of flour and salt to the yeast mixture and whisk together until smooth.
  3. Add two more cups of flour and stir together until the dough comes together.
  4. Using clean hands, knead the dough into a ball. You may do this right in the bowl or turn it out to a floured surface. It may be stiff; just work it until it's a cohesive ball.
  5. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover and let rest for 15. This lets the gluten in the flour relax, making it easier to knead.
  6. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Ideally you would knead this for 10 to 20 minutes. I normally just do 10 but a longer knead time will develop the gluten giving you a more beautiful texture on the inside and letting the dough rise higher, faster.

First & Second Rise (Proofing the Dough)

  1. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rise for in a draft-free, warm location for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size. A good place for this is in the oven with just the oven light on.
  2. Punch down the dough and knead again for a few minutes.
  3. Place the dough back in the bowl to rise for a second time. Again, let it rise for one hour or until doubled in size in a warm location.

Shape loaves and Final Rise (Final Proof)

  1. Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down and divide the dough into equal pieces. You can make two large loaves or four smaller loaves.
  2. Shape them into long loaf shapes and place them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  3. Cover the loaves with a damp, lint-free cloth and let rise for 45 minutes or until the loaves have doubled in size.
  4. Place a metal baking pan on the bottom rack in your oven. DO NOT USE GLASS. Place the second rack in the middle of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 F (232 C).

Bake the French Bread

  1. Prepare a spray bottle with water and, separately, a cup of cool or room temperature water.
  2. When the oven is hot, remove the cloth from the dough carefully. If the dough sticks to the cloth, drip some water on top of the cloth to help it release.
  3. Make slashes on the top of the loaves, either a few diagonally across the loaves or one slash down the length.
  4. When the oven is well-heated, place the loaves on the middle rack and quickly pour the cup of water in the baking pan below and close the oven door. Be careful as there will be steam.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the oven and cool them on a wire rack. The tops of the loaves should be golden brown and they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Wait at least a half hour before slicing.



Due to variations in flour, humidity and the like, you may require a little more or less flour. Go by feel and aim for a soft dough.

Due to variations in oven and home temperatures, you may require more or less time in the oven. Go by appearance and remove your loaves when the tops are golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

If you have any trouble with getting your yeast to bloom (get foamy and looks active) or with your dough rising slowly or not at all, please see my guide for Troubleshooting Yeast and Bread Dough.

The metal pan placed below the baking bread is to create steam once you pour water into it. Stay well back to be safe. DO NOT USE GLASS or any container that can break from suddenly changing temperatures.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 117Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 532mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

easy vegan french bread

Showing 30 comments
  • Reply

    French bread rocks! I love making grilled cheese sandwiches with French bread and Daiya’s jalapeños garlic Havarti block. Your recipe looks divine!

    • Mary

      Oh yum! That sounds great! Nice crusty grilled cheese. mmmm!

  • Melissa Bastian

    Oooh… do I need to make this bread and then make homemade po boys on it? Yeah, I probably do…

    • Mary

      Probably! 😀

      • Tara

        I have made this bread twice now and it’s absolutely delicious. It takes sometime to make it but worth the wait.

        • Mary

          That’s wonderful to hear, Tara. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Ella

      Ahhh! I just made my first ever batch of loaves. It tasted really good, considering it was just four ingredients. I burned it a little bit on the bottom, but the inside was soft and chewy. Loved the recipe !

  • John H.

    You started the cravings. Out comes my bread machine. Fantastic. Keep up the good work.

    • Mary

      Hahaha Thanks, John. 🙂

  • kendy

    wow! those are beautiful loaves of bread!

    • Mary

      Thanks, kendy!

      • JFK

        You never told us the temperature that we’re supposed to use.

        Double check before you post, gee. That’s bad.

        • Mary

          I did in both the recipe and the video.

  • mithi

    Hi good day,i have a question as i make my dough and rest for 1 hour my dough did not rise what wrong with that thank you

    • Mary

      Hi mithi,
      It sounds like your yeast is dead. This can happen for two reasons. The yeast was already dead when you started or the yeast was killed when you added water that was too hot. To prevent this, be sure to follow step one in the recipe. This helps you check if the yeast is still alive. If it doesn’t bloom (ie no bubbles form, no movement), you need to buy new yeast. If it blooms at step one but your dough still didn’t rise, check that the water you used was only warm (not hot or very cold). The ideal temperature is 105 – 110°F. Good luck!

    • Mary

      P.S. Sorry, one more explanation: make sure you let the dough rise in a warm location free from cold drafts. A cold environment will make the dough rise more slowly.

      Good luck!

  • Danielle

    This was my first time making French bread (and I gave almost no experience making any kind of bread to begin with), and it turned out perfectly!!! Thank you! Great recipe! Super delicious!

  • Neva

    Usually when I bake with yeast, I start with sugar and warm water to get the yeast going. Your recipe doesn’t have sugar. Just checking that this is correct. Thanks

  • Natasha

    Delicious bread! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Mary

      You’re most welcome, Natasha! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Ray

    Excellent recipe! I made it today and the loaves were delicious, soft on the inside with a crispy crust. Your directions were perfect. Thank yo for sharing. – Ray

    • Mary

      Yay! That’s fantastic, Ray. Way to go! 🙂
      Thanks for the comment.

  • kim kauffman

    I put the ingredients in my fitness pal and come out with 276 calories per serving!!!! WTH?

    • Mary

      That sounds about right for the number of calories for each loaf if you make 4. What’s the issue?

pingbacks / trackbacks

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipequinoa rejuvelac and wheat rejuvelac