Total Time
Prep 0 mins
Cook 35 mins

There are two very important things I've learned from making French bread. You don't need a special pan (though I use one now) to have it rise and hold its shape. The trick is you don't let it double in size. It rises in the oven to its full shape. The other thing I like to do is to put a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven. This makes a nice crisp crust. I received this recipe from my sister-in-law. When she makes this recipe, she makes 3 loaves on a cookie sheet. I make 2 in the French bread pans.


  1. Place hot water in large bowl.
  2. Add the shortening, salt and sugar.
  3. Stir and let stand until lukewarm.
  4. Sprinkle yeast over all.
  5. Beat until smooth.
  6. Add 3 cups flour and beat until mixed.
  7. Work in 2 cups flour with a wooden spoon.
  8. Gradually knead the last 1-1/2 cups flour in until no longer sticky-about 3 minutes.
  9. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Punch down and place on floured board.
  11. Roll out to a rectangle.
  12. Cut lengthwise in half.
  13. With each strip, roll up lengthwise and pinch seams.
  14. Roll gently back and forth with hands to desired length and to smooth loaf out.
  15. Lightly grease cookie sheet or use French loaf bread pans.
  16. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes.
  17. Cut diagonal slashes across bread about 1/4" deep.
  18. Preheat oven, pour boiling water on large cookie sheet to fill.
  19. Place cookie sheet on bottom rack in oven.
  20. Brush loaves with warm water and place bread on higher rack in oven above water.
  21. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.
Most Helpful

The first time I made this to the letter. I couldn't belive I made something so good . Crusty crust dense and soft middle. In other words perfect. I added more boiling water half way through baking, because my cookie sheet was baked dry . The second time I made this with 1/4 c milk and 1/4 olive oil , instead of 1/2 cup of the hot water. As suggected by another zaar chef ,even yummyer if you can belive that. But again I had to add water half way through as the cookie sheet had baked dry . The third time I made a loaf and rolls , as I had double the baking to do, I put a 13 x 9 cake pan in the bottom of the oven and filled it with boiling water.The water lasted through the WHOLE bake time. 35 min for the loaf and 30 min. for the rolls. Thank you all for making me the french bread queen of Trego Street

Debbiekitchenwench December 06, 2006

Plus a few more stars LOL I LOVE how quick this is to make. Perfect for that midafternoon panic of " OH NO I forgot to make bread " Wonderfully thick crispy crust and a center that is soft and airy. This IMO is one of the best French Breads I have made. Two days later it is still soft and crusty. I have had problems with some recipes going dry and crumbly after a day. But not this one. This recipe will be going in my bread rotation and in my Divine recipes of 2009 cookbook. I followed the recipe as stated with the exception of using an 8x8 pan for the water.

wicked cook 46 October 19, 2009

This is a good bread. The only reason I gave it 3 stars is because it's not really a French bread since it's not super crusty on the outside and full of air pockets on the inside. It wasn't what I expected. That aside, this is a good recipe for more of an Italian style bread, which I totally love also. I will be making this bread again. Thanks for posting it.

Chef busy bee January 07, 2009