The Best Soft French Bread

This soft and fluffy french bread is better than store-bought and so easy to make!

Is there anything better than fresh french bread, hot out of the oven? The smell, the crisp crust and the soft and fluffy inside... it's enough to make my mouth water, just thinking about it. I remember years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest, having dinner at my best friend Cort's house. I can't remember what she cooked for dinner, but I remember that she made the most amazing, melt-in-your-mouth delicious french bread, and I couldn't stop eating it. I'm going to blame it on my pregnancy (although it's not like anything has changed since then...), but I just kept shoving slice after delicious slice into my mouth. I probably ate at least half a loaf by myself (sorry, Cort!). At the time, I was terrible at baking bread, and after that night I added "bake perfect bread like Cort" to my lifetime goals list. I asked Cort for her recipe, of course, but she bakes so much by feel and intuition that it was nearly impossible for me to replicate her bread.

The Best Soft French Bread

  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5-6 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let sit until foamy and bubbly. Add the salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour, and mix until smooth. Add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and doesn't stick to your finger when tapped lightly. Let the dough rest ten minutes, then stir it down (I just turn my mixer on for a few seconds). Repeat four more times, stirring the dough down in between the rise intervals. 


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