Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
close up of three crispy golden brown baked French baguettes - just the top

Classic French Baguette Recipe


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Total Time: 16+ hours
  • Yield: 3, 15 inch baguettes 1x

Description

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. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

  1. In a medium mixing bowl add the water and honey to the bowl and stir to combine.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover the bowl (use a lid, beeswax wrap, or some good cling wrap) and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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). 
  6. 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). 
  7. After you have stretched and folded the dough, cover the dough well and place it in the fridge for the next 12-18 hours. 
  8. 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). 
  9. Remove the dough from the fridge after it's 12 to 18 hour rest, and remove it from the bowl.
  10. Divide the dough into three even pieces.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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. 
  14. Place the prepared dough log into your baguette pan.
  15. Repeat with remaining dough.
  16. 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).
  17. 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.
  18. 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).
  19. Place the bread in the hot oven, being careful when you open the oven as it is hot and steamy.
  20. Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 450 degrees F. right away.
  21. 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!
  22. Remove the baguettes from the oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving warm.
  23. Baguettes are also delicious at room temperature but we have found that we like them eaten fresh they day they are made.
  24. 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. 

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.
  • Prep Time: 15+ hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: side
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: baguettes, baguette recipe, paris baguettes, how to make baguettes, homemade baguettes, French baguette recipe