Crusty French Bread Rolls

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French Bread Rolls are the PERFECT yeast bread to serve on the weekend because they’re warm and fluffy on the inside, crusty on the outside, and incredibly easy to make!

Easy homemade bread doesn’t have to be intimidating, including White Bread, Homemade Dinner Rolls, Cornbread or even Garlic Bread.

French Bread Rolls
FRENCH BREAD ROLLS

French Bread Rolls are the PERFECT thing to serve with dinner. They’re soft and fluffy on the inside, and crusty on the outside like a French baguette. This is one of my go-to roll recipes because they’re also an incredibly easy yeast bread to make, plus you don’t have to knead it by hand because it’s done entirely in the stand mixer!

I love to serve this french bread recipe for lunch with Classic Minestrone Soup or a Classic Wedge Salad, or for dinner with my Meat Lasagna. This roll recipe also works perfectly with my Sloppy Joe fillings. If you want a more flaky breakfast option you can also check out my recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits!

HOW LONG DO FRENCH BREAD ROLLS LAST?

French bread dinner rolls will last at room temperature for 4-5 days, wrapped tightly. You can also store them in an airtight container to keep them soft. Heat the french bread in the oven wrapped in tinfoil at 200 degrees F to make them seem fresh-baked again before serving.

CAN YOU FREEZE FRENCH BREAD DINNER ROLLS?

French bread rolls can be frozen either before or after they’ve been cooked. For cooked, freeze them in a sealable plastic bag wrapped in tinfoil. Defrost at room temperature for a few hours before serving, or reheat in the oven to make them soft and crusty again.

For uncooked, divide the dough into balls, then place on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, about an hour, you can move them to a plastic bag. When you’re ready to bake, place them back on the baking sheet and bake according to the recipe, spraying with cold water to make them extra crusty (make sure it’s cold, warm water won’t work as well).

WHY IS MY FRENCH BREAD SO HARD?

If your roll recipe turns out too hard, it’s possible that you’re overcooking the rolls. Set a timer, and use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is cooking at the right temperature.

Fresh French Bread Rolls

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WHICH FLOUR DO YOU USE FOR FRENCH BREAD?

Some french bread recipes call for bread flour, because bread flour contains more protein. But I find that all purpose flour works fine instead of bread flour for this french bread recipe. You can also use whole wheat or other wheat flour for a healthier version.

 SOUPS TO ENJOY WITH THESE ROLLS

TIPS FOR MAKING FRENCH BREAD ROLLS

  • Make sure to set a timer and let the yeast and sugar sit in the hot water for the full time in this bread recipe. This step is called “proofing”, and it lets the yeast activate. The water will look cloudy and slightly foamy when it’s ready to use. I let it proof in the stand mixer, but you can use any large bowl.
  • When you’re letting the dough rise, the yeast needs a warm environment to grow. I usually put it near a window, or if your oven is on for another recipe you can keep it on top of the stove.
  • Make sure your yeast is as fresh as possible for this bread recipe. If the packet is expired, I recommend not using it, because your french bread won’t rise correctly.
  • Watch the french bread dough carefully, and stop kneading when it starts pulling away from the bowl. Kneading the dough for too long can result in dense rolls.
  • We’re using the stand mixer for this bread recipe, but you can knead it by hand if you want to.
  • You can use this same french bread recipe to make french bread dinner rolls or an actual loaf or baguette. Or roll them very thin and make breadsticks! You can also buy a baguette pan that will help keep the baguettes crispy on the top and bottom.
  • Wrap these french bread dinner rolls in tinfoil after they’re done baking, to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve.
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper to help keep the french bread from sticking.
  • You can substitute the active dry yeast with rapid rise yeast if you have to.
  • If the dough is sticking to your hands while you’re trying to work with it, dust your hands with flour lightly.
  • Brush the baguette dough with egg wash, or with butter to make the outside golden brown. You can also use a sharp knife to slice down the middle top of the roll for presentation.
  • Serve this french bread with soft butter or olive oil and herbs, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (my favorite fancy yet inexpensive finishing touch on foods) on top.

Easy French Bread Bites

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French Bread Rolls

5 from 33 votes
  • Yield: 16 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Course: Bread
  • Cuisine: French
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
French Bread Rolls are the PERFECT yeast bread to serve on the weekend because they're warm and fluffy on the inside, crusty on the outside, and incredibly easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt , divided
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • spray bottle with ice water

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. To a stand mixer add the warm water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes until cloudy.

  2. Add the oil, half the salt and 2 cups of the flour with the dough hook and let it combine on medium speed adding the flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough starts to come together and eventually starts to pull away from the bowl, then turn up the speed and let it knead for 5 minutes.

  3. Add to an oiled bowl and turn in the bowl to coat with oil then cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size for 60 minutes.

  4. Divide the dough into 16 balls, place on a greased baking sheet and let rise for an additional 30 minutes then brush gently with butter and sprinkle with remaining salt before baking at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes spraying the dough with ice water twice halfway through the baking process to make the crust chewier.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 16 servings, Amount per serving: 133 calories, Calories: 133g, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 292mg, Potassium: 31mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 45g, Calcium: 5g, Iron: 1.3g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

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Comments

  1. Hi. You give oven temps but don’t state whether they are Celsius or Fahrenheit. Here in South Africa we use Celsius and not Fahrenheit and my thermofan oven’s max temp is 230°C. I was wondering if the spraying of the rolls would be better than the dish of boiling water.

  2. Was looking for an easy and relatively fast yeast roll recipe and this filled the bill! I liked that it was all done in just a few hours rather than the overnight recipes. Like some others, I used at least 1/2 cup more of flour than the recipe called for. I used a mix of AP and Bread flours, and used garlic-infused olive oil instead of the veg. oil. I also used the pan of boiling water on the bottom rack as well as spraying the rolls. Set the timer for about 13 minutes but kept adding time so it was pretty close to the 18-20 in the recipe. They came out crusty enough when eating right away. The crust softened up as I stored the leftover rolls, but I’m sure they’ll warm up well! Thanks for this recipe.

  3. This is a fantastic recipe! Instead of small rolls, I made rolls for steak sandwiches and they were awesome. The family loved them. I’ll definitely be making again.

  4. These are decent rolls, but they are NOT chewy, crusty, or french. I followed the directions to a tee, and they are the exact same soft dinner rolls as every other dinner roll recipe out there. I wA intrigued by browsing your freezer instructions, then realized there really weren’t any. You state they can be frozen unbaked but give no indication of a 2nd rise time or baking length.

  5. Why do the ingredients say 3 1/2 Cups of flour and the directions say, add 2 Cups of flour. Was it supposed to say add 3 Cups of flour?

    1. The instructions have you start with 2 cups and then add in the additional flour in 1/4 increments until the dough starts to come together. You won’t want to add it all in at once. Hope this clears it up for you. Enjoy!

  6. The buns tasted great, but took some rejigging of ingredient amounts. The dough was very soupy after mixing so, after searching through other online recipes, I added an extra 1/2C of flour.

    First rise went well and forming the buns went well too, but after the second rise, the bun shape was lost and I had more of a rectangle of square shaped buns that needed to be cut apart.

    Any hints for dealing with these sorts of problems? I enjoyed the taste of the buns, so will likely try the recipe again.

    I switched from US Customary to Metric, but only the flour amount changed. Any chance you’ll be updating the recipe so that all ingredient amounts can be in metric?

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the metric measurements. I went through yesterday and adjusted it so hopefully it sticks and shows for you next time you want to try this recipe.

  7. I’ve used this recipe a couple of times now. It’s easy and produces good rolls, I added onions in last time, and was great. The only thing is that they have not been crispy, even though I have followed the recipe, spraying with iced water etc. Also, for me the timing is out, they only take 10 minutes to cook in my oven.

    1. Next time you make them instead of spraying them, try placing a pan of water underneath them while in the oven. That should help with them with being crispier. Hope this helps!

    2. Suggestion; Make sure the oven is preheated, add a pan of BOILING water in the bottom of the oven just before you put the bread in the oven. Cold or warm water won’t work.

  8. I’m not sure what flour you made this with but the recipe as stands completely failed for me.

    For a start this website’s cups-to-metric conversion is wrong – it tells me i need 375g water when I actually need between 330g and 350g. Even after adding in the extra flour to get the quantities in proportion I have the wettest, most unusable dough I’ve ever seen. I should’ve trusted my instincts and double-checked the conversion as it was way beyond the most hydrated bread i’ve ever made.

    As it is, I’ve just wasted half a kilo of bread flour (which isn’t the easiest of things to get these days) and an hour or two of my time and have no bread for tonight’s dinner.

    And to forestall any “did you follow the recipe?” comments, yes I did as it says, starting with 250g and adding the rest 30g at a time. It still didn’t work.

    1. I had the same issue, the dough was soup. The second time I used a cup of water and 3 cups of flour sifted. I rose the dough twice, once for 1.5 hours then kneed, adding flour if you feel necessary, and the second time about 45 minutes. After the second rise, I cut the dough and formed balls and let them rise about 10-15 minutes, till they are puffy. I put the dough balls in a pan and let them sit in fridge for a couple of hours until they cool. This will stop the dough from rising and hold a better shape. Preheat the oven, when it’s hot, add a pan of boiling water to the bottom of the oven. The water must be boiling or at least steamy and this must be done at the very beginning of the bake. The steam is what gives you a nice crispy top on the rolls. Once you store them in an airtight container, like any bread, it will loose it’s crispness. I hear reheating at 200 degrees wrapped in tinfoil works but I’ve yet to try it.

  9. This recipe came out just ok for me. The flavor is delicious..but, even though my dough was able to rise very nicely, when I baked them, they seemed to spread wider more than they rose higher. They also do not have that beautiful sheen like in the recipe photo. I cooked the first pan for 15 minutes and they seem a lil hard but somewhat chewy. I cooked the 2nd pan a lil less and they are softer. I didn’t have a spritzer so I did what someone here suggested and put a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven…maybe that had some affect? I don’t know. They do taste good though.

  10. I’m not sure what I did wrong but they took a lot longer in the oven than the recipe calls for and never developed any sort of “crust”. Super disappointing.

    They still tasted good but where nothing like advertised. Anyone have similar problems and could help me troubleshoot?

  11. Just made these again and they came out just as beautifully as they did the first time. I trust you implicitly and look forward to one day having a potluck dinner party with you. You are my cooking friend in my head.???

    1. Thank you. I didn’t realize there was a glitch in the system. I’ve gone in and adjusted it so hopefully it shows correctly for you now.

  12. I followed the instructions and the tips before starting. My dough was wet, running and extremely hard to handle, could not be shaped.
    Ended up binning this.

    I will try again, anyone shed a light on whether I can add more than the 3 1/2 cups of flour (will it be too dense?) or what I’ve done wrong?

    Thanks

    1. I’m glad you’re willing to try again. Make sure that you’re measuring the flour by spooning it into the measuring cups and leveling it off vs scooping it out. It’ll give you an accurate measure. Also, you can add more flour if needed but I wouldn’t go over adding more than an additional cup. Hope this helps!

  13. Wow i am not great at following recipes. These were great. Whole family loved them. Looked and tasted amazing.

  14. Hi! I had great luck with these and they turned out delicious and the outside had a fantastic crunch to it. I will definitely make them again! Thanks for the recipe!

  15. These were sadly terrible! Followed the recipe to a tea and they ended up spread out in the pan with a minimal rise. As a seasoned baker I’m surprised!

  16. Hi Sabrina. My rolls came out a bit flat (and in turn a bit dense, although lots of small air bubbles). From reading the comments I think I’ll knead a bit longer as it’s being done by hand. One question though, when I took the rolls out the oven they were crispy. One they cooled the crispness vanished ?? Any ideas on what could have gone wrong?

    1. Instead of spraying them, try placing a pan of water underneath them in the oven. That should help with the crispiness of the rolls. Good luck!

    2. I bake a lot. One way to ensure crusty crisp crusts is at the end of baking, turn the heat off, put a wooden handle spoon in the door of the oven and allow bread to cool in the oven.

  17. If I wanted to make double the recipe, should I double all the ingredients including the yeast.
    I’ve made them a couple of times and really enjoyed them.
    Would it be any good if, instead of spraying them, I put a pan of water at the bottom of the oven, would it have the same results – crispy outer.

  18. I made these today and they turned out beautiful. Very nice flavor. Will go great with the chicken vegetable soup I made. Thank you for a great recipe.

  19. If I wanted to make double the recipe, should I double all the ingredients including the yeast.
    I’ve made them a couple of times and really enjoyed them.
    Would it be any good if, instead of spraying them, I put a pan of water at the bottom of the oven, would it have the same results – crispy outer.

    1. Yes, you’ll want to double it all. I haven’t tried the pan with water method before but I’ve seen others use it with success. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. thanks!

  20. I made these yesterday (5/5/20). It was easy. But there are two things I want to improve. In spite of covering the rolls with melted butter and spraying the rolls with ice water before and half way through cooking, the crust did not turn out shiny nor truly crispy/crunchy. Also, the interior of the rolls was a bit more dense than I’d like. How can I get the inside of the rolls to be fluffy/less dense (e.g., more air pockets) and create a crust that comes out a shiny, crispy golden brown?

  21. I cant reccomend this recipe because I’ve done the dough twice and cant get it to rise so a complete waste of a day

    1. I used this recipe so many times, as I’ve seen others state the same. If you’d like for me to help you troubleshoot and see what the issue might be, feel free to email me at contact @ dinnerthendessert .com

  22. Easy to make and delicious! Good leftover the next day if you toast them a little. I used bread flour and instant yeast, made no other adjustments and they turned out great. Will definitely make again.

  23. If I freeze my dough before I let them rise a second time, how long should I let them thaw/proof before baking again?

    1. Place it in the refrigerator overnight covered on a greased baking sheet to thaw. The next day, take it out and put it in a warm place. Cover it and allow it double. Timing will vary based on it being frozen originally.

  24. Loved these! Made them in my breadmaker. The spraying ice cold water on them during baking really made them nice and chewy!

  25. I made these for the first time craving a fresh bun for a sandwich and it was delicious. My crust was crunchy, but just wondering how much water are you supposed to spray while baking?

    These rolls were so good!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed them! You just want to spray them with enough water for them to be coated with water. Make sure to spray them twice halfway through the baking process too.