French Bread, Hoagies, and Buns

All of your wildest fantasies are about to come true: now you, too, can make your own French bread, hoagies, and hamburger/hotdog buns, all from the same dough recipe! And if you REALLY want to get wild and crazy, you could also make pizza dough or breadsticks. You never knew things could get so out of control at Our Best Bites.

This recipe comes to you with minor tweaking from my dearest Lisa (who also gave me the infamously delicious breadstick/pizza dough recipe). I love this recipe because while it’s similar to the breadstick/pizza dough recipe, it’s a littler richer with much more substantial rising time, both of which give the bread an interesting flavor and texture. Because of the increased rising time, this recipe takes a little more planning (at least for me) than the other, but the French bread is SO delicious and I’m telling you, once you make deli sandwiches or burgers on the buns, you can never go back in good conscience.
I know lots of people get nervous when making yeast breads. If this is the case, be sure and check out the Tips on Yeast Doughs as well as the breadstick dough recipe, which provides additional pictures on what your dough should look like. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask! 🙂

French Bread, Hoagies, and Buns
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-5 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg, separated
2 Tbsp. cold water
Combine yeast, water, and sugar in large mixing bowl and allow to stand 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add salt, vegetable oil, and egg yolk (set white aside for later) and combine. Add 3 c. flour and mix well until combined. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely sticks to your finger. Knead, either by hand or in mixer (my personal and very lazy choice) for another 2-3 minutes. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour 45 minutes.
Punch down dough. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. For a loaf of bread, shape into loaf and place on greased cookie sheet. For buns or hoagies, divide equally into 8-10 (or even 12, if you want smaller buns when you’re done, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want smaller buns??) pieces and shape as desired. Use a scale if you have one to get equal-sized buns.


It’s okay if they touch (or will touch after having risen). Cover and allow to rise another 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Keep an eye on things–if they seem like they’re getting so big that they might collapse, hurry and get them into the oven.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix egg white with water and brush over dough. Bake for 10 minutes and repeat brushing the dough with the egg wash.


Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until bread is golden brown and your house smells like heaven.

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. This is an AMAZING recipe! I made it for the cheesy garlic bread swirls first and had to try it for hoagies. I finally had a chance yesterday for Independence day, and they were delicious! Such a light, delicate texture, nice and crusty, and absolutely scrumptious. It does seem to be a delicate balance on letting them rise; I can see how you’d almost be more likely to have a collapse with a very warm, tightly sealed raise. This is a winner for sure, though. It’s going into the rotation for special dinners. Thanks!!

  2. Hey Kate, me and a few friends are running into some troubles with the second rising. Both times I’ve made the recipe I’ve allowed them to raise in in my oven where it’s nice warm and draft free. First raise, great! Second raise….not so much. They are very flat and dense, delicious, but I am hoping to make a few batches to give away with dinners. Any tips on what I might be doing wrong?

  3. Hey Kate!
    My sister just pointed out your blog. We are making your French Dips. ANyway, I worked with you at Kneaders YEARS ago. I saw your picture and knew right away it was you. I hope that things are going well.

  4. Forgot to pick up hot dog buns at the store for my 6yo’s birthday dinner, and made these this afternoon to make up for it. What a good thing I forgot to buy them ready-made, because this recipe beats the store-bought stuff hands-down! I’ll be making these again, probably as dinner rolls, with the butter rubbed on top. YUM.

  5. Oh my heck! I’ve NEVER had this kind of success with ANY roll recipe! I seriously love all that you ladies do! I am having so much fun trying out all these recipes, and every single one has been a success with my family! Thank you so much!

  6. Made this recipe again but did it as 8 buns and it was AWESOME. I listed to Martha here and only let rise until doubled, which for me, was less than an hour each time. I may try the bread again being careful to only rise until doubled, not necessarily the specified time. Thanks!

  7. I decided to try the recipe. I made pigs in a blanket. Turned out delicious. Rise time was less than an hour to double.

  8. I wonder if instead of specifying a certain time for raising, it should just say "until double in size". In my own kitchen, rise time varies depending on if the kitchen is warmer or colder when I start the dough. It only takes about 30-60 mins for my breads to double in size.

  9. So, I made 2 loaves of french bread out of this and after the rising the second time for one hour they both ended up collapsing, I have NEVER had this problem with french bread before. I think maybe it would work with rolls because there isn't as much weight. Apparently this recipe won't work well for the bread though.

  10. Tiphanie–I truly have no experience with spelt flour or Pamela's baking mix. I'm sorry! I wish I could be of more help!

  11. Any idea how this would work out with spelt flour or Pamela's baking mix? We avoid wheat because of a blood type diet (and we seem to be intolorent)and are always looking for wheat free recipes. Bread is so expensive this way! Would love to spend less to get what we need.

  12. I made with fresh whole wheat flour and wheat gluten and they didn't turn out. I think they actually rose too long and deflated just as I put them in the oven. Maybe I'll give them a try again and use white flour and not let them rise as long. It's a warm day here, so I probably should have cut down on the rise time anyway. Dang!

  13. These were really good; they reminded me of the rolls my Mom makes. I wonder though (not knowing much about bread making) if the baking time would be different for a loaf of bread versus the rolls?

  14. Denise, you can DEFINITELY freeze these–you can either shape them and freeze them and let them rise for a few hours or just bake them and freeze them in an air-tight bag or container.

    I've never tried doubling it, so I can't say for sure if it will work or not–some yeast breads are weird that way. But if you try it out and it works, please let us know! 🙂

  15. Any tips on freezing these? Will the recipe double well, you think? I know after I make these I'll be addicted!

  16. Could you give some how-to's on shaping? Whenever I try to shape for hamburgers or hot dogs, or even regular bread loaves, they always turn out wonky!

  17. I just made this with whole wheat flour (and honey instead of sugar)
    I added about 2 tbs gluten and 1 tbs dough enhancer, and they turned out great! Definitely returning to this recipe!

  18. These are raising on my counter right now. I can't wait to get them in the oven. I don't think I shaped them very well. I did 10 round buns….and they are not all that equally sized, and they'll probably turn out kind-of lumpy. I think they'll still be delicious.

  19. If your son is allergic to eggs (and how HARD would that be??), I’d leave the egg yolk out and then either brush the tops with water while it’s baking or don’t even bother with it and rub some butter on top when you pull them out of the oven. Definitely not a big deal! 🙂

  20. Is there something I could do besides the egg white wash? My son is allergic to egg whites. We had the barbeque pizza tonight, so so good!

  21. I couldn’t access your website at ALL yesterday (or my e-mail account – I nearly cried all day long). Now that I’m back, I just want to say YUM. I’m sure they taste as good as they look.

  22. Yay! My computer didn’t freeze up on me today! I can’t wait to try this one!

  23. I have been waiting for this one. I knew it was coming. YUM. I can’t wait until I have an oven again.

  24. Holy hanna banana…those look amazing. Come to my house and give me a lesson!!! Come on Kate, we don’t have hurricanes here in the land next to Zion.