Whether you are a novice or an experienced baker, this Bread Machine French Style Loaf is a classic staple that every scratch kitchen needs. It’s easy, budget friendly and an absolute necessity for any home cook.
This is my favorite bread to use when making my Overnight Breakfast Strata and of course… garlic bread. There is nothing like fresh bread, it is delicious and the ingredients are so simple! No oil adds to a chewier texture that is common in a traditional style French bread.
You can either make a traditional shape, dinner rolls or a 9 x 5 loaf pan. No matter which way you shape it or slice it, a good bread recipe in your back pocket is handy to have on those days when you crave the smell of fresh bread baking in your oven.
Joy Makers & Co. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising revenues by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
What You’ll Need:
Bread machine– You will need a 1.5 or 2 pound machine for this recipe. Even though we are baking it in the oven, it still makes large amount of dough, approximately 850 grams.
Bread Flour– This type of flour has a higher gluten content. The higher amount of gluten adds to the structure of the loaf. It can still be made with all-purpose in a pinch, but I highly recommend using bread flour.
Instant Yeast- I recommend buying it in a large 1-pound pack and storing in an air-tight container in the freezer to keep it fresh. It’s more economical to buy in bulk and if you get hooked on homemade bread, you will be so happy that you have a good supply on hand.
Small Silicone Spatula– This is a must when checking on your dough at the start of the cycle. The pan will scratch easily if you use regular utensils, so a small silicone spatula is perfect.
Digital Scale– Using a gram scale is the only way I measure when baking anything. Not only is it more accurate to measure by weight vs. volume, it is much easier once you get the hang of it.
Even with a scale, bread baking always carries the possibility of adjustments. Humidity and temperature can vary and affect the way the dough comes together. I keep a little flour and water nearby just incase it’s too wet or too dry in the first 5 minutes of the cycle. Generally, it will only take a little bit of either one for a good dough.
Digital Thermometer– Not only is this handy for checking that it is cooked all of the way through, it is helpful to make sure If it reads 190 F- 200 F then I know it’s done.
Half Sheet Pan- For a traditional “baguette” shaped loaf.
Parchment Paper– You will need this to line your sheet pan to prevent sticking.
Cooling Rack– Make sure the bread is fully cooled before slicing. If you cut into it while it is still warm, it will dry out.
Rolling Pin- Shaping the dough is as easy as using a rolling pin to make a rectangle and roll it into a loaf. Pinch the sides and set aside for the final rise.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure you have inserted the paddle before getting started. Doing this right after washing helps me keep track of it.
- Place your machine in a secure spot on your counter. Some machines move more than others during the kneading, and we want to keep machine from taking a “walk” off the edge.
- Remove the bread pan from the machine to add your ingredients. This prevents any spills from ending up inside of the machine.
- Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the order to add the ingredients. Most recommend adding wet first, then dry. I have written all of my bread recipes from wet to dry.
- The ingredients should always be at least room temperature, but not any warmer than 110 F or you can risk destroying the yeast. Sometimes during colder months I will heat my water to a warmer temperature, about 80-100 F.
- Testing your batch of yeast before baking bread is helpful. I do this if I have had mine for more than 6 months. Add a cup of lukewarm water to a glass with a teaspoon of sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of yeast. If it bubbles up in the first 5 minutes then it is still fresh, if not it is time to replace it. Storing yeast in an air-tight container in the freezer is best, it should last up to a year or more.
- Too wet or too dry? Check your dough ball after the machine starts at around the 3–5-minute mark. You can use the silicone spatula to help any ingredients stuck on the side of the pan. It should be soft to the touch and as the machine mixes and kneads, it will stick and release without leaving any dough behind. If it is too wet, a ‘puddle’ of dough will form around the paddle. If it is too dry, the ingredients will just slip around and feel dry to the touch. Have a little extra flour & water on hand ready to go just in case adjustments are needed.
- Shaping is simple. Dust your counter with flour and roll out the dough into approximately a 12″x 10″ rectangle. Roll it up into a log. Pinch the bottom seam closed, then pinch and tuck the ends. That is all you need to shape this basic “baguette” shaped loaf. If you are using a 9 x 5 loaf pan or larger, make sure 850 grams of dough will fit and shape the dough to fill your pan.
- After shaping the loaf, place it on the parchment line for the final proof. Place the pan in an oven that only has the light on. Set a timer and let it rise for 45-60 minutes, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. If you are unable the use the oven for proofing, just cover with a lightweight towel and place in a warm and draft free area. Just before baking, brush on an egg white wash and make the 5 or so small cuts on top for the classic look. You can skip this step if you wish and if you are using a loaf pan.
- Cook until the internal temperature is 190-200 F.
- Because there is no oil, this tastes best within 24-48 hours days. I recommend keeping it refrigerated in an airtight container after cooling if you do not eat it right away. If you need to make this ahead of time, just let it cool for a few hours then freeze for up to 2 months. This will need to be sliced or cut in half before being placed into freezer bags because of how large the loaf is.
- If you are looking for more tips on making great bread in the machine, check out my Master Butter Dough recipe.
- Cube it for the Overnight Breakfast Strata, Croutons or Breadcrumbs.
- Garlic Bread
- French Toast
- “Fancy” Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- French Bread Pizza
Looking for more bread machine recipes?
If you try this Bread Machine French Style Loaf or any of my other recipes tag me on Instagram @joymakersandco, I’d love to see what you make!
Bread Machine French Style Loaf
- 1 Bread Machine 2 pound
- 1 1/2 cups water, room temperature (80-100 F)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Optional Egg Wash:
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon water
- Remove the pan from the machine and make sure your paddle is inserted.Add 1 1/2 cups of water, then the bread flour. Don't mix. Make 3 wells on top of the flour. One for the salt, sugar, and yeast. You will want to keep them separate until the machine starts mixing. *Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for your specific machine. This recipe is written to add wet, then dry ingredients.
- Place the bread pan with ingredients into the machine and lock into place.
- Start the dough cycle. Set a timer for 5 minutes. After the time is up, use your small silicone spatula to help anything stuck the sides. Check for dough that is too wet or too dry, make small adjustments accordingly.
- When your dough is the right consistency (no pooling under the paddle, does not stick to the sides without releasing), close the lid and set a timer for the remainder of the dough cycle. Prepare the baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- After the machine has finished, unplug it and remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Have extra flour handy to help prevent sticking. Gently "knock" the air bubbles out by kneading for a minute or two.
- Add a little more flour to the surface if needed and use a rolling pin to shape the dough into approximately a 12 x 10" rectangle. Carefully flip the dough over so the smoother side is facing the counter and the rough side is facing you.
- Use your hands to gently adjust the shape back into the rectangle.Carefully roll the dough into a log (rolling inwards and up). Pinch the bottom and side seams together to seal. Tuck the side seams towards the bottom seam, pinch to seal again. Place the shaped bread on your prepared baking sheet (seam side down) and set in the oven with just the light on for approximately 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.If you are unable to use the oven for proofing, just cover the loaf with a lightweight towel and keep in a warm (70-80 F), draft free place.Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg white and remaining water. Set aside.
- Remove the dough from the oven and pre-heat to 400 F. Brush on optional egg wash if you wish and make 4-5 small cuts on top with a sharp paring knife. Keep in mind that the bread will continue to expand and rise and it bakes and you do not want the cuts too large. Bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature is 190-200 F and it is nicely browned. Rotate and or cover with foil if it browning unevenly or too fast and still needs to cook.
- Rest on cooling rack for 1-2 hours before slicing. This makes it easier to slice and prevents the bread from drying out.
- Best eaten within 24-48 hours. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days or freeze for up to 2 months.