How to Make Homemade French Baguettes

Homemade French Baguette Recipe with grapes and olive oil.

If you’re visiting this site, I’m sure that means you love bread as much as I do. Especially warm Homemade French Baguettes that you can dip in oil, slather with butter, top with cheese and meat, or eat plain straight from the oven. I mean if I had to choose, fresh bread would always win over chocolate cake, gasp!

The texture of a french baguette is crunchy on the outside, with a slightly chewy texture on the inside. This bread recipe is made solely from yeast, flour, and water. Simple ingredients that need a little tending love and care. Don’t worry if your first attempt isn’t perfect, just try again:)

I am going to teach you how to make french baguettes that you can proudly serve. So, lets get to it! You don’t need any fancy equipment just a bowl, wooden spoon, a large baking tray, cookie sheet, and a pillow case. Oh yeah, a small spray bottle with water. Most importantly you need patience and two days to complete this bread making process. If I’ve learned one thing in my bread journey, its to never rush!

How to make French Baguettes from scratch served with wine.

Recipe for french baguettes served with olives.

Tips on How to Make French Baguettes

Day One

Make the Poolish:

Poolish is a very wet dough mixture made with equal measurements of flour and water, with a small amount of active yeast. This starter is used to help with the extendability of the baguette dough. Poolish undergoes a long fermentation process and is then added to the final mixture of flour, water, and additional yeast. By incorporating poolish into the dough, it allows the dough to stretch easier to the long baguette shape we are trying to achieve without breaking.

  • Add the flour, yeast, and water together in a small to medium bowl.
  • Gently stir together with a wooden spoon until a wet, sticky dough is formed.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to 12 hrs.
  • Poolish can even ferment for 16 hrs.
  • Don’t over ferment your poolish, because it will cause the yeast to kill the gluten and result in a stiffer dough.

Day Two

Make the Baguette Dough:

  • Sift your flour into a medium bowl, add yeast stir, then add salt.
  • Pour in water and the entire poolish.
  • Mix by hand and knead until smooth. Or place in a stand mixer with dough hook attachment and work for 3-4 minutes until dough has formed and sticks only to the bottom of the bowl (not the sides).
  • Take a medium bowl and lightly grease with olive oil.
  • Transfer dough to bowl (dough should be sticky).
  • Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm draft free location for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover dough, grab dough with a slightly oiled hand, pull then stretch and fold the dough over itself.
  • Cover and set for another 30 minutes.
  • Repeat this process once more.
  • After you have done two stretch and rest periods, allow the dough to rest for a final 30 minutes.

Shape the French Baguettes:

  • Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate with hands and divide it into three equal pieces. (I prefer to weigh my dough for exact portions.)
  • Shape each section into a ball. Lightly oil three small bowls, put a dough ball into each container, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for up to an hour. (this is the method I like best since its a wet dough and simply covering with a kitchen towel may dry it out.)
  • While your dough is resting prepare your Couche. A Couche is a ¬†flax linen that is used to support proofing bread dough, between its folds. This keeps the dough from sticking to other baguettes while it rises. Now, you can purchase a Professional Couche or simply take a clean cloth pillowcase and dust with flour.
  • Take one dough ball out to work with at a time.
  • Place on a light floured surface and flatten.
  • Fold the dough from the bottom third up and then the top down. Rotate and repeat.
  • This folding and pressing with the heels of your hands to flatten the seems with help the dough to stretch out lengthwise.
  • Keeping the seem side down, start to gently roll the dough across the work surface until it reaches about 16 inches long. (shape the ends into a point as desired)
  • Ever so gently transfer the elongated dough to the couche and place seem side down on the flat linen. (start at the top of the short side of the couche)
  • Next, create a wall, by pinching the linen on both ends to protect the long side of the dough.
  • Repeat this process with the final two pieces of dough.
  • Allow baguettes to rest in the couche for 45-60 minutes.

Homemade Baguette Dough stretched into a couche.

French Baguette dough sliced for baking.

Bake the Baguettes:

  • Prepare large baking pan. Flip upside down and cover with parchment paper. Using a flipped over pan allows the baguettes to gently hang over the side.
  • To transfer the baguettes without deflating them, I found a simple trick with a cookie sheet.
  • Use a non-stick flat cookie sheet or cover with aluminum foil.
  • Place cookie sheet next to dough on the couche. Gently lift the linen and roll the baguette onto the cookie sheet. Only do one baguette at a time.
  • Then simply let the baguette softly roll onto the prepared pan.
  • Repeat with the other two baguettes. Making sure to space them a couple inches apart on the final baking pan.
  • Next, score your bread with a sharp knife or baker’s lame at a 45 degree angle. I prefer to gift my baguettes a light spritz of water from a spray bottle before scoring. This seems to keep the dough from pulling. Cut three diagonal slashes down the length of the baguette.
  • Fill pan in the bottom of the oven with boiling water. Steam helps the baguettes to rise and from a lovely crust.
  • Place the tray in the oven.
  • I also spray the walls of the oven with a little water for extra steam.
  • Bake until golden brown.
  • Store in a brown paper bag at room temperature.

Homemade french baguettes with olives and olive oil.

homemade french bread sliced with butter.

Homemade french baguettes with olives and olive oil.
4 from 1 vote
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How to Make Homemade French Baguettes

How to make Homemade French Baguettes from scratch with a crispy crust. Easy baguette recipe using a bread starter Poolish.
Course Bread
Cuisine French
Keyword baguette, bread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
resting time 2 hours
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 3 Baguettes

Ingredients

Poolish

  • 1 Cup (128 g) Bread Flour
  • 1 Cup ( 250 ml) Warm Water
  • 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast

Dough

  • 2 Cups (256 g) Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups (192 g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 Cups (312.5 ml) Warm Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Instructions

Poolish

  1. Add the flour yeast, and water together in a small to medium bowl.
  2. Gently stir together with a wooden spoon until a wet sticky dough is formed.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to 12 hrs.

Baguettes

Make Dough:

  1. Sift flours into a medium bowl then hand whisk. Add in yeast and salt, then stir.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer combine entire poolish and dough ingredients.
  3. Using dough hook turn mixer onto low speed.
  4. Work dough until formed and only sticking to bottom of bowl.
  5. Dough will be tacky and slightly rough in texture.
  6. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Set in warm draft free location for 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover dough grab dough with a slightly oiled hand, pull then stretch and fold the dough over itself.
  9. Cover and set for another 30 minutes.
  10. Repeat this process once more.
  11. After you have done two stretch and rest periods allow the dough to rest for a final 30 minutes.

Shape Baguettes:

  1. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate with hands and divide it into three equal pieces.
  2. Shape each section into a ball. Lightly oil three small bowls put a dough ball into each container, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for up to an hour.
  3. While your dough is resting prepare your Couche. see note in post above.
  4. Take one dough ball out to work with at a time. Place on a light floured surface and flatten.
  5. Fold the dough from the bottom third up and then the top down. Rotate and repeat.
  6. This folding and pressing with the heels of your hands to flatten the seems with help the dough to stretch out lengthwise.
  7. Keeping the seem side down start to gently roll the dough across the work surface until it reaches about 16 inches long. (shape the ends into a point as desired)
  8. Ever so gently transfer the elongated dough to the couche and place seem side down on the flat linen.
  9. Next create a wall, by pinching the linen on both ends to protect the long side of the dough.Repeat this process with the final two pieces of dough.
  10. Allow baguettes to rest in the couche for 45-60 minutes.

Bake the Baguettes:

  1. Preheat Oven to 450 F and place a pan on the bottom rack on bottom of oven.
  2. Take a large rectangular baking pan flip upside down and cover with a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. To transfer baguettes place a cookie sheet next to dough on the couche.
  4. Gently lift the linen and roll the baguette onto the cookie sheet.
  5. Only do one baguette at a time.Then simply let the baguette softly roll onto the prepared pan.
  6. Repeat with the other two baguettes. space two inches apart
  7. Next score your bread with a sharp knife or baker's lame at a 45 degree angle.
  8. Cut three diagonal slashes down the length of the baguette.
  9. Fill pan in the bottom of the oven with boiling water.
  10. Place the tray in the oven.
  11. I also spray the walls of the oven with a little water for extra steam.
  12. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Ameera
    July 13, 2019 at 4:02 am

    4 stars
    Very simple ingredients, it is worth the effort. Really glad that I made some lovely baguettes!! Gotta work more on scoring the bread! Thanks 4 sharing tips and techniques..

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