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French bread in red dutch oven
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4.41 from 40 votes

Easy French Bread in a Dutch Oven

The easiest bread recipe you will ever make, but still an excellent loaf. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
rising time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 50 mins
Course: bread
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: easy french bread, french bread in dutch oven, vegan french bread
Servings: 12 pieces
Calories: 159kcal
Author: Katie Shaw



  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • teaspoons instant yeast (SAF brand recommended)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • pinch cornmeal for sprinkling on the parchment


  • Combine all ingredients to form a smooth, soft dough, and knead.  If you do this in a bread machine on the dough cycle, life will be good.  Otherwise, a stand mixer with a dough hook will work, and will take about 7-9 minutes on a low setting.
  • Allow dough to rise, covered, in a warm place.  It will take about 60 minutes in a setting that is about 90 degrees.  You can use an oven that has been slightly warmed and then turned off or sunny windowsill. (The bread machine takes care of this for you too.)
  • After the dough has risen, remove from bowl and place on floured surface.  Shape the loaf by pinching the bottom until the top is smooth.
  • Prepare your baking sheet or Dutch oven by laying down a piece of parchment  and sprinkling cornmeal on the parchment sheet.  Place the round loaf on top of the parchment and rub flour on top.  Slash with a very sharp knife.
  • Cover the dough, either with heavily greased plastic wrap or the lid of your Dutch oven.  Allow the dough to rise again.  This will take another 45-60 minutes, in a warm place.  Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • When sufficiently risen, bake.  If using a baking sheet, it will take about 30 minutes. The clay baker will take a bit longer.  I bake for 20 minutes with the lid on, then another 20. with the lid off. The internal temp should be 200.
  • Cool on wire rack and serve while still warm.


This recipe does not keep well at room temperature (will go stale the next day), but freezes very well.  Just wrap well to freeze, then defrost at room temperature a few hours and reheat briefly in a warm oven. Or just use it for toast or croutons on day 2.


Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg