The Best Bread For French Bread Pizza Isn't The Most Obvious Choice

There are many types of French bread, but the long and crusty baguette is likely the most iconic variety around the globe. That's why it makes sense that when someone mentions French bread pizza, you might think it's cheese, sauce, and other toppings piled onto a sliced baguette. However, French bread pizza relies on a French loaf — not a baguette — and the reasons dwindle to the size and texture that it provides for the pepperoni, mushrooms, and your other go-to pizza toppings.

The first reason a French loaf — sometimes sold as an Italian loaf at bakeries and grocery stores — is essential is its size and width. This gives you more space to spread your sauce, cheese, and toppings. French and Italian loaves are also usually softer on the inside so you'll be able to bite into it even after some time in the oven. Additionally, these breads have a crust that will crisp in the oven. A baguette, on the other hand, is too small to be the vessel for pizza toppings and will likely become too hard to bite into after the pizza comes out of the oven.

Acceptable bread alternatives for French bread pizza and how to prep your bread

If you can't find a French or Italian loaf at your local bakery or grocery store, you don't have to resort back to traditional pizza crust. An acceptable alternative is to use ciabatta to make bigger French bread pizzas. The pizzas will be larger and thinner but the texture and crust will be similar. You can use ciabatta rolls to make smaller personal pizzas to satisfy everyone's preferred toppings or cravings. Any other wide and dense bread loaves can also work for your French bread pizza.

When you secure the bread, there are a few steps to prepare it for your toppings. Cut the loaf in half lengthwise, so you have two long pieces, and try to make each side as even in size as possible. If you really like to load up your French bread pizza with sauce and the works, remove some of the bread from the middle to make more room (and save the chunks of bread to make homemade croutons later). You can press it down with large baking sheets to make it flatter. Otherwise, rub a garlic clove on the cut bread or a drizzle of olive oil to give more flavor to your pseudo crust.

Test these tips out and cook Tasting Table's French bread white pizza with red onions and prosciutto. And if you can't find any of these breads, try our French bread recipe to pull it off.