Classic French Baguette Recipe

4.58 from 64 votes

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Homemade Baguettes are the ultimate bread making experience in my opinion. They take some time to make but are really pretty simple. The ingredient list is short but the flavor is amazing. You are going to love to know how to make authentic French Baguettes at home; they are such an amazing bread.

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The perfect baguette is crispy on the outside, perfectly chewy on the inside, has a complex flavor, and are one of those breads that feel like such a simple pleasure in life.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  1. Delicious Flavor: Baguettes are known for their delicious flavor, with a crispy crust and a soft, airy interior. The fermentation process and the simple ingredients (usually just flour, water, yeast, and salt) create a unique taste that many people find irresistible.
  2. Texture: The combination of a crispy crust and a soft, chewy interior makes baguettes satisfying to eat. The contrast in textures is part of what makes them so enjoyable.
  3. Simple Ingredients: Baguettes are made with just a few basic ingredients, which aligns with a preference for natural and uncomplicated foods in many cultures.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Water: So simple, you’ll have the best luck using good clean water. If your water is highly treated or smells like cholrine out of the tap, consider using filtered water. Breads like this tend to love mineral-rich well water.
  • All Purpose Flour: Use a high quality all-purpose flour like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour. Their all-purpose flour has a gluten content close to European flours and you’ll have good results with them.
  • Salt: use a kosher or sea salt here. Table salt has too much of an acidic taste for this recipe.
  • Yeast: use instant yeast for this recipe, it might also be called rapid rise or quick rise yeast
  • Honey: I love adding just a little honey to this recipe, it helps the yeast do it’s thing and I think it add some flavor to the bread as well. It doesn’t really sweetened the bread, it just add some nice compliments to the flavor.

How To Make Classic Baguettes

  • Mix up my dough while I’m making dinner. Stretch and fold over the course of the evening while dinner is cooking, I’m cleaning up etc.
  • Tuck the dough away for the night in the fridge before I go to bed.
  • I adjust the next days baking depending on when we want to eat the baguettes. If they are for lunch, I’ll get the dough out of the fridge 3 hours before we want to eat. If I want them for dinner, I’ll get them out 3 hours before dinner. If you don’t have a set time of when you want them, just make them when it’s best for your schedule.
  • 3 hours before I want baguettes, I remove the dough from the fridge, divide it into three pieces, gently press the dough pieces into small rectangles on the counter, cover and let rise for an hour.
  • After that hour rise, I’ll shape the baguettes and place them on my baguette pan to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour. I preheat my oven once the baguettes are shaped and get my pan of water in there to start warming.
  • After that 45 minutes to an hour, I bake my baguettes.Let the baguettes cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

How To Stretch and Fold Your Dough

First you’ll mix up your dough; it come together really easily just stirring it with a wooden spoon. Then over the next 3 or so hours, you’ll “stretch and fold” your dough every 30 to 45 minutes or so, a total of 4 times.

Don’t overthink this part, the timing isn’t a huge deal, so don’t sweat it if you do it a little more or less and a little faster or slower than at the 30 to 45 minute mark. The idea is that you knead the dough just a bit, a few times, over the course of a couple of hours. It’s way flexible. This helps to make the inside of your baguette perfectly chewy.

When I say “stretch and fold”, here’s what you do: put your hand between the dough and the bowl on one side and grab the dough, gently pull it up to give it a good stretch (if the dough starts to break, stop pulling, you are just stretching the dough as far as it wants to stretch without breaking it) and then fold it back down into the middle of the bowl. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process, working your way around the bowl. I normally think of the bowl as a square and stretch and pull the dough 4 times, once on each side of my square. It’ll take 15 or so seconds to do this.

Do this a few times over the next few hours. Then cover up the bowl well with a beeswax wrap or a piece of plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for the next 12-18 hours.

After your dough has chilled for 12-18 hours, remove it from the bowl and divide it out into three even pieces.

Pat the pieces of dough out into rectangles (don’t worry to much about the shape, the cold dough is pretty stiff, just pat it out…) and are about 1 inch thick. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Shape Baguettes

Once the dough has rested at room temperature for an hour, pull it into a rectangle that is about 11 inches by 8 inches. Then fold the dough into thirds as shown in the pictures above. Once the dough has been folded, pinch the seem shut.

Gently use your hands to roll the log of dough out into a baguette that is 15 inches long. Use your hands and the rolling motion to gently taper the ends. Then you’ll place the baguettes in a baguette pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Let the dough rise for about an hour in the baguette pan and then bake!

Do I need a stand mixer to make baguettes?

While a stand mixer with a dough hook can make kneading easier, you can also knead the dough by hand.

What’s the best way to store homemade baguettes?

Baguettes are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are baked. To store them, wrap them tightly in a kitchen towel or paper bag to prevent them from getting too soft. Avoid storing them in plastic bags, as this can make the crust lose its crispness.

Expert Tips

  • I like using a scale for this recipe and measuring that way, the more I use a scale for baking the more I love it. It’s a lot more consistent!
  • You can double this recipe, it works great. I always make a double batch for my family. I like to bake the pans separately though (they bake up better one pan at a time in my oven).
  • You can find lots of baguette pans online. I like the ones that are carbon steel and this is the one that I bought. 
  • You’ll want to use a razor blade or lame for slashing your bread before baking, a lame is just a razor blade on a stick but you might like the feel of it better… this tool is also used for scoring sourdough bread

Special Equipment Needed Baguettes

After much trial and error though I did decided that buying a baguette pan was worth it. The bread rises right in the pan and the pan goes right in the oven. It doesn’t take up a lot of room to store and I’ve really really liked the results. The pans aren’t expensive either.

You’ll need is a razor blade or a bread slashing tool called a lame. You can use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the slits in your bread before baking but I’ve found a razor blade or lame to just work so much better. It will cut deeply without tearing the bread or roughing it up too much (you can deflate the risen dough by trying to use knife that doesn’t cut well for scoring).

Achieving the Perfect Baguette Texture

The outside texture is achieved by cooking the dough at a very high temperature AND by adding a pan of water to the oven so that it is creating steam. The steamy cooking environment mixed with the high temperature are the things that make perfect baguettes. Nothing you have to do for this recipe is hard, it’s just a few extra steps that turn the dough from traditional bread dough into something really special.

How to Get the Perfect Baguette Flavor

By using a slow fermentation process for this dough, you develop the flavor of the dough. After the dough has been made and you’ve kneaded it a few times over a few hours, you’ll cover it well and pop it in the fridge for 12 to 18 hours (depending on your time schedule). This method of cold retarding the dough is where so much of the magic is made. And the best part is, you don’t have to babysit. You do have wait, but it’s not like you are actively doing anything for those hours. This slow rise is also changing the texture of the dough! So it’s a double win.

close up of three crispy golden brown baked French baguettes - just the top
4.58 from 64 votes

Classic French Baguette Recipe

My favorite homemade baguette recipe that uses simple ingredients with a long chilled overnight rising period to develop flavor. This recipe make 3 baguettes that are crispy on the outside, perfectly chewy on the inside, and full of complex flavor. 
Prep: 15 hours
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 16 hours
Servings: 3 Loaves

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons cool water, 370 grams
  • 1 tablespoon honey, 25 grams
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast, 3 grams
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour brand flour, 500 grams
  • 2 teaspoon fine sea salt, 10 grams

Instructions 

  • In a medium mixing bowl add the water and honey to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the yeast, flour, and salt to the bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix well. The dough will be thick, just stir it as well as you can until the flour is incorporated. No need to mix a lot by hand at this point, just get it to come together.
  • Cover the bowl (use a lid, beeswax wrap, or some good cling wrap) and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 or so minutes stretch and fold the dough. When I say “stretch and fold”, here’s what you do: put your hand between the dough and the bowl on one side and grab the dough, gently pull it up to give it a good stretch (if the dough starts to break, stop pulling, your are just stretching the dough as far as it wants to stretch without breaking it) and then fold it back down into the middle of the bowl. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process, working your way around the bowl. I normally think of the bowl as a square and stretch and pull the dough 4 times, once on each side of my square. It’ll take 15 or so seconds to do this.
  • Over the next 2-3 hours, every 30 to 45 minutes, do a stretch and fold with the dough. Be sure to cover the dough well after each session. Do around 4 stretch and fold sessions total (a little more won’t hurt anything).
  • See the bakers schedule in the post for more information on how and when I do this (I normally make my dough while I’m making dinner and stretch and fold throughout the evening).
  • After you have stretched and folded the dough, cover the dough well and place it in the fridge for the next 12-18 hours.
  • You have some flexibility about how long the dough is in the fridge, so feel free to make the baking schedule work with your schedule. I adjust the next days baking depending on when we want to eat the baguettes. If they are for lunch, I’ll get the dough out of the fridge 3 hours before we want to eat lunch. If I want them for dinner, I’ll get the dough out 3 hours before dinner. If do don’t have a set time you want to eat them, you can just do these next steps when you have about a three hour chunk of time to dedicate to it (not all hands-on time but you’ll need to be around for things).
  • Remove the dough from the fridge after it’s 12 to 18 hour rest, and remove it from the bowl.
  • Divide the dough into three even pieces.
  • Gently press each piece of dough into a rectangular shape about 1 inch thick. If the dough is very sticky feel free to lightly flour your surface. Cover the pressed out dough pieces with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  • After the dough has rest for an hour at room temperature, it’s time to shape your loaves. Working with one piece of dough, stretch the dough gently so that it makes a rectangle that is roughly 11 inches by 8 inches. Fold one third of the dough to the middle of the rectangle, fold the other side of the rectangle into the middle of the dough (like you are folding a letter) and then pinch the dough together along the seem to make a log (I have step by step photos of this in the blog post).
  • Use both of your hands to gently roll the dough out into a 15 inch long log, tapering the ends just a bit with your hands.
  • Place the prepared dough log into your baguette pan.
  • Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Cover the dough in the pan with a clean dish towel and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the dough is light and puffy (it won’t be quite doubled in size).
  • While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. When you turn the oven on to preheat, add a small dish of water to the oven. I like to use a bread pan that has about 2 inches of water in it.  I put it off to one side of the oven so that my baguette pan can fit next to it. I like to let the oven and water preheat for at least 30 minutes so that it has time to get good and hot.
  • When the bread has finished rising in the baguette pan, use a razor blade or lame to cut 3 diagonal slashes 1/2 inch deep diagonally across each loaf OR cut one long 1/2 inch deep slash down the center of each loaf (I like the center slit personally).
  • Place the bread in the hot oven, being careful when you open the oven as it is hot and steamy.
  • Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 450 degrees F. right away.
  • Let the baguettes cook until they are deep golden brown, 24-28 minutes (I like 25 minutes on the dot). They are going to be very golden!
  • Remove the baguettes from the oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving warm.
  • Baguettes are also delicious at room temperature but we have found that we like them eaten fresh they day they are made.
  • Uneaten baguettes can be stored wrapped in a clean towel and make excellent bread for sandwiches. They also reheat well by wrapping them in foil and letting them warm in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Video

Notes

  • I like using a scale for this recipe and measuring that way, the more I use a scale for baking the more I love it. It’s a lot more consistent! You can totally use your stand mixer for this.
  • Sometimes I’ll make my dough in the stand mixer and just let it hang out in there for the next few hours. I’ll cover the whole things lightly with a towel and then for my stretch and fold sessions, I’ll simple turn the mixer on for 15 seconds and let it do the kneading. It works great!
  • You can double this recipe, it works great. I always make a double batch for my family. I like to bake the pans separately though (they bake up better one pan at a time in my oven).
  • You can find lots of baguette pans online. I like the ones that are carbon steel and this is the one that I bought.  You’ll want to use a razor blade or lame for slashing your bread before baking, a lame is just a razor blade on a stick but you might like the feel of it better… this tool is also used for scoring sourdough bread. 
  • If you don’t want to buy the baguette pans, I thought the King Arthur Flour baguette recipe did a good job of explaining how to use the cloth, peel, and a baking stone! I bet you could look up some videos on YouTube too.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of a loaf, Calories: 141kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 0.4g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 389mg, Potassium: 50mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 2mg
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83 Comments

  1. Loving the recipe, but can’t get my second rise to evenly “proof”. Half of each loaf turns out perfect. Any thoughts on why?

    1. What do you mean by half of each loaf turns out perfect? Which half is not turning out well? Tell me more! Happy to help!

  2. 5 stars
    My family absolutely loves the recipe – I even brought a few loaves of the doubled recipe to work and people loved it! The only comments I got were to add a little more salt to the doubled recipe and to see if I could add some butter. Any suggestions on how to do that?

    1. Adding more salt is no issue. I wouldn’t add butter. I think it’ll weigh the dough down but if you did I’d add it in the beginning and adjust the flour to accommodate it. Doubling the batch is not issue, I never make a single batch!

  3. 5 stars
    I have found the perfect recipe for French baguettes and this is a keeper for sure! My family said these beat the baguettes that I typically purchase from our local bakery! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  4. 4 stars
    The bread was fantastic!! Very crispy! I did have a question regarding the dough. The dough was very sticky throughout the process. Made it difficult to form the baguettes. Is this normal? I used King Arthur Flour as directed.

    1. It shouldn’t be so sticky you can’t work with it so next time I’d just add a little more flour.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this over the weekend, was a perfect weather too being so raw!

    loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! my go to bread recipe.

    one questions, mine was not as crispy, any thoughts.

    thanks
    you!
    Sky

    1. You can turn up the oven heat just a bit or let it cook 5 minutes at the higher temp and then drop it or you can cook it an additional 5 minutes!

  6. 5 stars
    A friend sent me the link to your recipe, and it is by far the best I have ever tried. It is now the ONLY recipe I use for French Bread. My husband comments each time we have it on how wonderful it is! Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic recipe!

    1. No I just turn on my cold tap water so it’s a little colder than room temperature but you can use room temperature if you want.

  7. Wow. This is the recipe I have been looking for. The taste and texture is spot on. I experimented a little. I punched off a third of the dough from the refrigerator and baked it off. It was Great. I left the rest sit for five more days in the fridge. I baked that and the flavor was better still. Texture was perfect. Now I always have some of this dough in my fridge waiting to get baked off. Thank you so much for sharing. W.

  8. Hi, you say it should be a ‘hot oven’ for the baking, and that you should turn it down to 450F once it goes in, but I can’t find anywhere in your recipe what the original ‘hot oven’ temperature should be ?

  9. 4 stars
    I have tried this recipe twice and found the instructions easy to follow and relatively simple. I reduced the recipe by a third because I only wanted to make one loaf, but each time, the dough came out soupy. I actually added another cup of flour and it was still very loose and sticky. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.