This small batch french bread is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. The recipe makes one small loaf that is the perfect amount for 2-4 people.
My full size French bread recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my blog so I knew I had to figure out how to reduce it down. The full size recipes makes two loaves of bread which for our reduced size family of two is just too much. This scaled down recipe makes one small size loaf of bread or you can divide it and make two mini loaves if you prefer.
- Water. Your water temperature should be between 105-115 degrees F. It’s about the same as a nice warm babies bath. If your water is too warm, you will kill the yeast, if it’s not warm enough, the yeast won’t activate.
- Yeast. I am using active dry yeast which needs to activated in water. Be sure and check the expiration date on your yeast to make sure it is good. You can also use rapid rise yeast, just add it in with the flour and don’t proof in the water.
- Flour. All purpose flour but can also use bread flour. Bread flour has a higher protein content which gives the bread more strength and it enables the bread to rise higher.
- Sugar. You can substitute the sugar with honey if you prefer.
How to Make Small Batch French Bread
- Proof Yeast. Combine 1/4 cup warm water with yeast and sugar. Make sure the water temperature is between 105-115 degrees F. Stir to combine water, yeast and sugar and then let sit for 10 minutes until it proofs or becomes foamy.
- Make Dough. Into the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, remaining sugar, salt and yeast mixture. Add in an additional 1/2 cup of warm water. Using the dough hook attachment, mix and knead dough for 4-5 minutes or until dough is smooth. Dough should pull away from the bowl and be smooth but slightly sticky or tacky. Add additional flour if dough is too sticky or additional water if too dry.
- First Rise. Lightly oil a bowl with olive oil and place dough into bowl, cover and let rise for 15-30 minutes in a warm place.
- Form Loaf and Second Rise. Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, about 9 x 6 inches. Roll dough into a loaf and tuck ends underneath. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for another 15-20 minutes.
- Bake. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove towel from bread and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with a coarse salt. Bake for 18-20 minutes of until golden brown.
- Cool. Place bread on a cooling rack and allow to cool.
- Slice and enjoy!
- If your dough is too sticky and sticks to your work surface and your fingers, just add a little more flour. The dough will be tacky but not sticky. Add additional flour just a tablespoon at a time. The dough should pull away from the bowl of the stand mixer, be soft and smooth when it is ready to shape into a loaf.
- Find a warm spot in your house to let your bread rise. I often turn my oven on to the lowest setting possible, and let it preheat for a minute and then turn off the oven. Put the bowl of dough, covered with a towel, into the oven and let it rise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turn the bread over and tap on the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow and the loaf will feel light. You can also use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. The temperature should be 190 degrees F.
Absolutely! Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until a shaggy dough forms.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead by hand.
To knead, push the dough away from you with the heel of your hand then lift the edge of the dough farthest away and fold over the dough closest to you. Repeat until dough is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes.
Add additional flour to counter as needed to prevent dough from sticking.
Check the expiration date on your yeast. Be sure it’s not expired.
Be sure your water temperature is between 105-115 degrees F. If the water is not warm enough the yeast won’t activate and if the yeast is too warm, it will kill the yeast.
For more delicious small batch recipes try these:
- Easy French Bread Recipe (full size recipe)
- Small Batch Dinner Rolls
- Small Batch 30 Minute Rolls
- Chicken and Dumplings for Two
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Small Batch French Bread
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm water plus 1 Tbsp if needed
- olive oil
- coarse salt
- Combine 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F) with yeast and sugar in a bowl. Mix to combine and allow to sit for 10 minutes until foamy and bubbly.
- In a stand mixer, combine flour, salt and 1/2 cup warm water. Pour in yeast mixture.
- Mix o combine and knead for about 4-5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky or tacky. Add more flour or water if needed.
- Place dough into a bowl coated with olive oil. Cover with a towel and let rise for 15-20 minutes, should about double in size.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 6 x 9 inch rectangle with a rolling pin.
- Roll dough up from the long side, tuck ends under the loaf and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- After dough has risen, use a sharp knife o cut three diagonal slits 1/4 inch deep into the bread. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake fr 18-20 minutes or until bread is golden brown.
- Place on a rack to cool.
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