This Baguette recipe is the gold standard of bread in my opinion. It’s hard to find something more delicious than a freshly baked loaf that’s perfectly crispy on the outside and warm, fluffy and soft on the inside. Plus, the options for using this baguette are nearly unlimited – enjoy it with soup, salad, a wedge of cheese, or just as-is!
Making homemade bread like this baguette recipe is always a labor of love that requires a bit of patience. This version of the baguette recipe is not how the professionals do it (which takes 2 days), but a simplified homemade version that can be done in several hours. However, the outcome is still so, so good!
This rustic baguette recipe produces a long, crispy loaf, with large holes inside and that oh-so-good bread aroma that you can only get by making bread yourself. This Baguette recipe only requires a couple simple ingredients (water, flour, yeast, salt & honey – which is optional).
When you need a therapeutic experience in the kitchen, grab this baguette recipe and start baking. It’s so rewarding to make this at home!
Tips for Making Baguette Bread
If you haven’t baked bread at home, you may feel a bit intimidated, but don’t! Making baguette bread or any type of loaf is completely doable. All you need to do is follow the recipe as outlined below! In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Give yourself extra time, especially if this is your first time making baguette bread. While most of the time making this recipe will be hands-off time as the dough is proofing or baking, it’s always a good idea sure to give yourself extra time anytime you’re working with yeast.
- Make sure you start with good unexpired yeast, this will ensure successful results.
- Find an ideal place to proof. When you’re proofing baguette bread, you want the area to be warm (90F – 100F) and draft-free. I recommend covering it with a tea towel and setting it in your oven with the oven light on.
- Create steam in the oven. I know it sounds odd, but using a spray bottle to spray the inside of the oven as soon as you put the baguettes in the oven will create steam that will keep the outside of the baguettes soft and elastic. This helps a hard crust from forming that would otherwise prevent the baguette from quickly rising and expanding as it hits the oven heat.
How to Enjoy a French Baguette
Wondering what a baguette can be used for? If you’ve ever been to France, you may have seen people purchasing fresh French baguettes from local boulangeries and biting right into the bread, without any toppings whatsoever. That’s certainly an excellent way to enjoy a French baguette!
You can also slice it and spread on some salted butter, or better yet enjoy it with a dipping concoction of olive oil, Italian seasoning, and some well-aged balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Not to mention, this French baguette is excellent just to use with a cheese plate or for regular sandwiches (like this delicious French Dip) or bruschettas. I also highly recommend this yummy mushroom pate slathered on a slice of the bread!
How to Make a Baguette
*For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card bottom of the post.
- Make a polish: Dissolve active dry yeast in water (no need to dissolve in water if using instant yeast, just add it with the rest of the ingredients), then mix together with flour until well combined and uniform. Allow to rise until the top is covered with bubbles that are actively popping and the mixture is about tripled in volume.
- Make the Baguette Dough: to a mixer bowl add flour, salt, risen poolish, water and quickly stir to combine. Then, knead by hand or with a dough hook until the dough stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. Form a ball, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.
- Stretch the dough: Pour the dough onto floured surface and divide it into 3. Stretch each piece by pulling out and up on each side until slight resistance, then fold it over the dough, repeat with the 3 other sides and let rest for 10 minutes.
- To shape a baguette press each piece down with your fingers into a rectangle. Then, roll into a log and press with the side of your palm to seal each time one rotation is made (as shown on the picture) . This helps the baguette keep shape and strengthens the gluten structure, which will trap in the air bubbles well as the yeast produces them. Pinch the edge closed, then roll the log to about 18 inches or as long as will fit on your baking sheet. Repeat with the other 2 dough pieces.
- Sprinkle generously with flour and transfer to parchment paper, then tuck the parchment paper so that the baguettes are separated by it, but tightly next to each other. Cover with a tea towel and allow the baguettes rolls to proof again until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven, then bake as outlined below in the recipe card.
How Long Does the Baguette Last?
If the Baguette recipe makes more than you would eat in a day or two, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and freeze. Re-crisp by placing the bread into a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes.
Simple Baguette Recipe - crispy on the inside, with a chewy crumb and large holes this recipe is sure a keeper!
- 1 Tbsp Instant yeast
- 1 cup warm water (90F - 100F)
- 1 cup bread flour
Make the poolish first:
Dissolve 1 tbsp dry instant yeast with 1 cup warm water, then add 1 cup flour and mix until no flour is seen. Allow to proof in warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until the surface is covered with bubbles that are slowly popping.
Make the Baguette Dough
Mix: Dissolve 2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp honey in water and add to the risen poolish. Add the flour to a large bowl or a bowl of a mixer, then add the poolish with the water from the step above.
Knead: Quickly stir to combine, then knead by hand or with a mixer fitted with a dough hook until the dough is tacky to touch and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (~10-15 min).
Proof: Form a ball and place into a well oiled bowl to proof. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in a warm, draft free place like the oven with the oven light on for about 1.5 - 2 hours or until the dough is doubled in size. This might take more or less time depending on the temperature of the house and yeast's freshness.
Prepare the baking sheet for proofing:
Use a large cookie sheet or an upside down baking sheet pan.
Dust a couche (baker's linen fabric for proofing) with flour and prepare it for the shaped baguettes. If you do not have a couch I Set a parchment paper on top and dust with flour.
Preheat and prep: preheat oven to 450 F with a baking stone or baking steel on the middle rack.
Also, fill a spray bottle with water. Place a 9"x12" baking pan (not glass) with 2 cups of hot water on the bottom of the oven.
Invert the dough onto well floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces.
Preshape: Stretch the dough by pulling on the right side of the dough up and out until slight resistance then folding it over the dough, then repeat with the other 3 sides. Turn it upside down and allow the dough to relax for about 10-20 minutes, covered.
Final shape: Stretch the dough into a rectangle, then roll into a log stopping to press down and seal the rotations with the side of your palm as you keep rolling to shape a taught roll. Then pinch the end to seal. Stretch and roll the roll until about 18 inches long or as long as your baking sheet is.
Transfer to a flour dusted parchment paper lined 12"x18" baking sheet.
Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough to form 3 baguettes and space the shaped baguettes evenly.
Proof: Sprinkle the shaped baguettes with flour and losely cover with a tea towel. Allow to proof for another 40 minutes or until the baguettes have roughly doubled in size. When you press a floured finger into the dough about 1/2 inch deep the indentation should fill back slowly, still leaving a small indent.
Score: Right before placing in the oven make 3 slashes diagonally along each baguette with a sharp serrated knife. This will help to control the expansion of the dough in the oven.
Bake: Place the baguettes in the preheated oven and quickly spray the sides of the hot oven about 4 times to create steam. Shut the oven door quickly so that the steam doesn't escape and the oven doesn't cool down too much.
Bake for 7 minutes, then quickly spray the oven with cold water again. Shut the oven door quickly and lower the temperature to 380F and bake for another 25 minutes or until deep golden color or once the internal temp is 190F.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.