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Easy, Authentic French Baguette at Home

There are many baguettes recipes available, but most are complicated and can't produce consistent results. So we set out to create a dead simple, foolproof  recipe while achieving our focus on consistency, taste and flavor. Our goal is to have beautiful golden brown, crispy crust on the outside, with a good balance of chewy and soft on the inside. And most important of all, it must be extremely flavorful. Give our recipe a try and let us know what you think!

No special ingredients, no poolish, no special skills... just basic ingredients, basic tools and some patience!

IMPORTANT - HOW TO USE THIS RECIPE

This recipe is intended for bakers of any level. It is geared toward people who love baguettes regardless where their baking skills may be. First, please read through the entire recipe once, word by word. Watch supported videos at the end if you need. Then proceed.

Please do not make any changes to the recipe on the first time you try; do exactly as instructed to achieve best results.

FAQs - answers to your questions

  1. Wow, this recipe is so different from the rest of the internet, will it work?
    Trust us, we're pros and we engineered this recipe for you. And we've simplified and tested this recipe over 100 times to make sure home bakers at any levels can follow. Please do not combine this recipe with another one you found elsewhere.
  2. Which yeast do you use?
    Specifically, we tested this recipe repeatedly using "RED STAR Active Dry Yeast" brand sold at Costco, which should be readily available to most.
  3. Why does your recipe have such a long wait time?
    You can't rush a good dough. Your bread will be much more flavorful and much tastier than those quick recipes. In fact, it will be tastier than most bread found in bakeries in the U.S. If you would like to eat baguettes in the morning, then get the dough ready the day before. Otherwise, get the dough ready in the morning and have it ready in the late afternoon or evening.
  4. Why do I need a digital scale?
    Weighing is much more accurate than measuring with spoons and cups. This is key to producing consistent, reliable results.
  5. What if I don't have diastatic malt?
    This is not required. It just helps your baguettes to have a bit better (darker) color.

KEY TOOLS/EQUIPMENT:

  • Very large bowl or 5 Qt KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Whisk
  • Bread lame, preferably Saint Germain Bread Lame
  • Large rectangular pizza baking stone or perforated baguette pan
  • Cooling rack
  • Kneading board or a flat surface
  • Dough scraper
  • Small pan to hold water for steaming
  • Spray bottle filled with clean water
  • Digital kitchen scale 

OVERVIEW:

  • Servings: 3 baguettes
  • Preparation time: 15M
  • Baking Time: 20M
  • Total Time: 8H 30M
  • Difficulty: Easy

 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 20.25 oz all-purpose flour (weight)
  • 12 oz water (room temperature, by weight)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp diastatic malt (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS: 

STEP 1 - Mix Dry Ingredients

Add flour, salt, yeast, and diastatic malt to the large bowl (or stand mixer bowl, if using). Mix well with a whisk. (See video below if desired).

STEP 2 - Knead the Dough

Option A - If using stand mixer (preferred): With dough hook attached, turn machine on LOW ("speed STIR") and slowly add in water, mix till combined, about 1 minute. Then increase to "speed 2" and continue mixing for about 10 minutes. Stop, take dough out onto kneading surface and knead by hand for an additional 1 minute. (Hand kneading can be done directly in the bowl if done skillfully, otherwise take dough out to a kneading board). 

(See video below if desired).

Option B - If no stand mixer available, using hands only: Make a well in middle of the flour, add water into the well, use a spatula to blend in the flour until combined and start kneading by hand. The dough should be soft and a bit wet. Continue kneading by hand by for a total of 5 minutes. This is not difficult. If you don't have a stand mixer, it is totally fine to use this option and the result will be the same.

(See video below if desired).

STEP 3 - Proofing the Dough

Place dough in the big bowl, cover the entire bowl air-tight inside a plastic bag (a clean, new trash bag would work), and allow to rest for 8 to 10 hours at room temperature, but not longer. Don't shorten the wait either...it's worth it! It's the secret why your bread would taste so much better than most.

STEP 4 - Shape the Baguette (8 to 10 hours later)

On a kneading board, dust lightly with some flour, cut the dough into three equal parts using dough scraper and shape the baguette.

One piece at a time, pat down the dough to 3.5" x 6” rectangle, then:  
a. Along the longer side, fold the upper third part of the rectangular dough toward the bottom third. Press down the folded section with your palm to flatten.

b. Along the longer side, fold the bottom third toward the top, press down with your palm to flatten.

c. Along the longer side, fold the dough in half and seal the edges with your fingers.

Roll the dough back and forth starting from the center towards the end until it is about 18 inches long. Leave the baguette shaped dough on the kneading surface, seam side up with ample space between them. (See video below if desired).

Cover with plastic bag and let it rest for another 30 mins when it doubles in size.

If using a baking stone: While waiting, place baking stone on SECOND LOWEST rack, and heat up the oven to 500 degrees. 

NOTE: It is important to immediately heat the oven with baking stone inside while waiting for the dough to rise, as it takes time for the stone to reach necessary temperature.

STEP 5 - Score the Dough 

Turn the dough over, seam side down, hold the lame at 30 degrees angle and make three quick slashes on the dough.

STEP 6 - Get Shaped Dough into Oven and LOWER the temperature

Add 1/2 cup of water into the small rectangular pan (or rimmed baking sheet) and place on LOWEST rack (below baking stone, if using).

Option A: Bake with a pizza baking stone

Slide out the rack holding the baking the stone, work quickly, one at a time, using baguette transfer peel to move the 3 shaped dough directly onto the baking stone (scored side up), spray water all over the dough, close oven, and immediately lower temperature to 425F. Bake for ABOUT 20 minutes until golden brown. (Set timer to 18 minutes and monitor while door remained closed). 

Option B: Bake using a perforated baguette pan 

Use a baguette transfer peel to move the 3 shaped dough directly onto the perforated baguette pan (scored side up), spray water all over the dough, then place the pan onto SECOND LOWEST rack (a rack above the pan with water). Bake for ABOUT 20 minutes until golden brown. (Set timer to 18 minutes and monitor while door remained closed). 

NOTES: 

  • The purpose of the rectangular pan is just to hold water for steaming.
  • Be careful NOT to spill water onto your glass oven door in this step. It will crack.

STEP 7 - Getting Baguettes Out of Oven onto Cooling Rack

Turn off oven, keep over door crack open at about 2 inch and wait for 3-4 minutes, then open door completely and transfer baguettes to cool off on a wired cooling rack. This wait helps to improve the crust on the baguettes.

 





REMEMBER: HAPPINESS IS HOMEMADE. 

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6 comments

  • was curious to see that the active dry yeast wasn’t “activated” before using in this recipe but the dough grew anyways and it was pretty tasty. Didn’t have malt so mine were not quite golden brown but they were crispy and good! thank you

    Maks
  • Great recipe. Easy to make. Super crunchy, dense and tasty. My daughter thinks it tastes like the baguette from the south of France. Definitely a win. Thank you.

    Catherine
  • I tried to make baguettes during this pandemic lockdown. I used some promising recipes and made acceptable baguettes. I tried to up the quality using a couche, which I found yours on Amazon. This recipe is the easiest and tastiest by far! Thank you so much!

    Mel

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