Homemade French Bread

French BreadHomemade French Bread

What better bread to serve with spaghetti, lasagna or fettuccine than some homemade French bread?!  Always a family favorite, this recipe was usually the request of our oldest when he chose his menu for his birthday supper.  I’ve used this bread to make garlic bread.

I’ve made it so often that I don’t need the recipe, and I’m  happy to share it with you.  You’ll just need the normal bread ingredients, including yeast, sugar, water, salt, flour, and Crisco or vegetable oil.

This bread can be rolled out using a rolling pin, or you can just pat it out into a rectangle. Roll the bread up, beginning at the wide end, and place the seam side down on the tray. Using a serrated knife, put diagonal slices part-way in the bread.

The recipe calls for an egg and milk glaze; I just use milk.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

For garlic bread, slice the bread lengthwise (after it is baked) and butter, then sprinkle garlic powder over the top. Broil in oven until lightly browned.  OR you can slice it into regular slices and butter one side, then wrap in tin foil and heat through in an oven.

Now that we are part-time empty-nesters, I am able to freeze one of the loaves when I make this recipe. Sometimes I fix the second one for garlic bread and put it in the freezer so it is ready for the next time.

French Bread
Recipe type: French bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 loaves
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. veg. oil (or Crisco, melted)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 Tbsp. yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 7 cups bread flour
  1. Dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water with ½ tsp. sugar
  2. Combine Veg. oil, sugar, and salt with hot water
  3. Combine the two mixtures
  4. Add 7 cups flour
  5. Knead on floured board until the dough is elastic, or use your dough hook on the mixer to knead the dough.
  6. Put into greased bowl, turning so the dough is coated. Let rise until double.
  7. Punch down and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Roll out into a rectangular shape, then roll up jelly-roll style.
  9. Put on greased cookie tray. Cut diagonal slices on top of the bread.
  10. Brush with milk, OR use 1 beaten egg mixed with 2 Tbsp. milk.
  11. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top
  12. Let rise until double
  13. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. This recipe makes 2 loaves.


Pinterest French Bread

Homemade Rye Wheat Bread

rye baking in oven

This recipe produces a moist, rich bread.  In addition to rye, wheat and white flour, you will need eggs, instant potatoes, margarine (or butter), milk, salt, sugar and yeast.

Don’t panic because of the ingredients.  It’s still an easy recipe.

You’ll dissolve the yeast in warm water, then mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the melted margarine (or butter) and milk to the yeast mixture and all the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

For this recipe, you only need 1 Tablespoon of yeast.  I sometimes add a little more if I’m in a hurry to get the bread rising.  For bread with yeast flour, one thing you want to do is make certain that you don’t add too much flour.  Add a little at a time until it is mixed in well.  You’ll want this dough to be a tad on the sticky side.

rye in bowl

Put the dough into a greased bowl and let it rise three times.

ready for the first punch!

You punch it down the first time and let it rise again.  After you put the bread into loaf pans, you let it rise again.

rye in pans no pricks

I always prick my loaves with a fork; it  helps the air escape and keeps the tops from developing bubbles or cracking.

rye rising in pans 2

Let the loaves rise and then put into a pre-heated oven.  The temperature is 425 and you only need to bake it for 25 minutes.  Remember that the wheat and rye will make it look darker, so you don’t need to think it’s getting too dark.

This bread is excellent for toast or for grilled cheese sandwiches.  It’s a moist bread and  not as dry as a lot of bread with whole wheat flour in it.

A grilled cheese on rye-wheat bread.

You can slice the bread and put it in the freezer.  Then when you want a few slices, you can just take out the amount you need.

Here’s the recipe.  And a confession:  this is not Dave’s favorite bread recipe.  So after making this one and hearing his many hints for his favorite recipe, I made that one, too.  I’ll post it another day.

Rye Wheat Bread
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 loaves
A little extra effort because of additional ingredients, but well worth the time! This moist wheat-rye bread is excellent toasted or just served plain.
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 2⅔ cups milk
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup sugar (brown or white)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. instant potatoes
  • 7-8 cups white flour
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water
  2. Heat margarine/butter and milk to lukewarm
  3. Mix sugar, eggs, salt, rye flour, whole wheat flour, instant potatoes, and 5 cups white flour together
  4. Add the yeast/water and margarine/milk
  5. Add t he remainder of the white flour until the dough is rhe right texture
  6. Put into a greased pan and let it rise until double
  7. Punch down and let rise again
  8. Make into 4 loaves and allow to rise again
  9. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until done
  10. Brush with margarine, oil, or crisco

Pinterest Rye Wheat BreadName Your Link

Basic Homemade Bread

bread 4 loaves


I am of the opinion that nothing spells comfort better than a slice of homemade bread fresh out of the oven.  I’m also of the opinion that bread tastes best when it’s baked in an outdoor oven or in a wood cook stove.

And, since I’m giving my opinion, let me just tell you this: I also think that, when it comes to baking bread in an outdoor oven, the actual recipe isn’t as important as the fact that it’s baked in that wood-fired oven.

Since I have neither in my house, I use my convection oven – which also happens to bake some awesome bread.

bread 2 loaves b

Did I hear somebody say “homemade”?!

If you’ve been on my blog before, you might know that I grew up helping bake homemade bread in our mother’s bakery.  And for the past dozen years or so, I’ve helped bake bread in an outdoor oven, an annual autumn family tradition.  You can read about that venture here.

It helps that I own a Bosch (thank you, Dave!) and that makes mixing up bread a snap.  I usually double or triple a recipe.  After the loaves are cool, Dave slices them and we put them into freezer bags.  That’s a trick I learned from my mother, who used to tell her customers to do that when they were afraid of buying her two-pound loaves.  “You can just take a few slices out of the freezer at a time,” she’d say.

The reason Dave slices the loaves instead of me is because he gets the slices straight – and I don’t.  I like the loaves sliced thin so I can eat two slices on a sandwich and  not feel guilty for consuming as many calories.  My kids like them thicker because they say it makes better French Toast and Grilled Cheese sandwiches than thin slices.  Either way you slice it, it’s just plain good.

grilled cheese

In case you’re wondering, this apparatus is a Cook-n-Dine. We love making grilled cheese sandwiches on this. The sandwiches in the outer circle are in the “warming zone” and the ones in the center are being grilled.

french toast 2

Same bread recipe used to make French Toast – with plenty of cinnamon for seasoning

I got this recipe years ago (oh, something like twenty-eight years, I think it was).  Dave was  doing some remodeling at an elderly lady’s house, and she happened to be making homemade bread that day.  She sent a loaf home with Dave.  It was so moist and good that I called her and asked her for the recipe.  Neither  Dave or I can remember who this lady was  (isn’t that embarrassing?!)  but the recipe card says it comes “From the recipe file of Clarice Potter.”

The card is yellowed from years of use, and there are oil splatters in many places.   It’s starting to bend and tear and I figure if I go ahead and post it here, I won’t need to worry about not being able to read the card anymore.

homemade bread 5

Can’t you just about smell this bread?! You’ll notice that the loaves in the front look crisper. That’s because they just came out of the oven. The loaves in the back are more “wrinkled” – that’s because they’ve had time to cool.

You’ll just need the usual ingredients:  bread flour, yeast, water, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt.

strawberry jam bread

A slather of butter and a glob of homemade strawberry jam!

Before you get started, here are a few pointers:

  • make sure your water is not too hot and not too cold.  It should be around 110 – for me, that means I can put my finger in the water and hold it for a little bit.  If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast.  If it’s too cold, it won’t activate the yeast.  Either way, it means the dough won’t rise
  • sugar helps activate the yeast.  You might want to decrease the sugar; that’s okay, but remember that you need some sugar to help the yeast do its job.
  • bread flour makes better bread.  You can use regular flour, but it changes the texture of the dough.  I have at times had to add regular flour when I ran out of bread flour in the middle of mixing a batch.
  • While the dough is rising (in the bowl and in the bread pans) keep it away from drafts.  That means either turn your fans off or throw a towel across the dough – or  move the dough to another place where it won’t get that draft.
  • I made the mistake of doing a thirty-minute exercise video in the next room once when my loaves were rising. I came out to find that the loaves had “flopped.”  Learn from me and don’t try that!

Homemade Bread
Recipe type: homemade bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 large loaves
Any way you slice it, there's nothing that speaks comfort like a slice of fresh, homemade bread.
  • 1 quart warm water (4 cups)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast (I usually add more yeast)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour to start, then enough to make the dough not sticky.
  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. (You can do this in 1 cup and then add the rest of the warm water to the batch)
  2. To the yeast mixture, add salt, vegetable oil and 3 cups flour
  3. Add more flour, ½-1 cup at a time until the dough no longer clings to the side of the bowl.
  4. Put dough onto counter and knead until it is smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat the entire dough mixture
  6. Let dough rise until it is double, then punch down
  7. Let the dough rise again, and then punch it down again
  8. Grease bread pans and shape dough into loaves.
  9. Put melted margarine or vegetable oil on top of loaves
  10. Prick each loaf in several places.
  11. Let rise until double
  12. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.


Homemade, Hearthside Memories

Hearth: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearth   In archaeology, a hearth is a firepit or other fireplace feature of any period. Initial usage refers to a place of warmth, heat, or fire, or ‘heat of earth’.

BFTH fresh out of the oven 1

There’s nothing like homemade bread baked  in an outdoor oven.  On rainy days, there’s nothing like the warmth from that hearthside!

I’m going back home again. It’s the changing-of-the-leaves time.  It’s apple cider and apple butter time. It’s Springs Folk Festival time, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

It’s true that I’ve already seen the hundreds of displays, craftsand craftsmen at this Festival.  I’ve watched glass blowing, log hewing, sheep shearing, horses on a treadmill, and women quilting.  I’ve listened to fiddle-playing in the woods, seen applebuttermaking over an open fire, and sat in the building where a play is performed or various groups and families sing and play a diverse assortment of instruments, music and songs.

I’ve purchased my share of relics and crafts to use in my home or as gifts. Yet while I’ll enjoy walking the trail and maybe hitching a ride on the hay wagon, I’m really heading home for one reason: to help bake home-mixed, homemade bread in an outdoor oven.    [Read more…]