Quick, easy French baguette recipe. Deliciously simple yet crusty and crackly, homemade French Baguettes. Follow this recipe for easy French Baguettes even first time bakers can make and with only a couple hours.
- 8 grams traditional yeast ( or 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon honey (natural honey worked better than the squeezable one)
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (not too hot - you don’t want to cook the yeast, just wake it up)
- 1 tablespoon fleur de sel ( if you are using table salt, use only a teaspoon)
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used all purpose flour which also worked fine)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Proof the yeast with the honey and warm water. For bread making novices this means putting the warm water in your big mixing bowl and adding the yeast and honey. Give it a little stir and then let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. You will see the grains of yeast wake up and rise to the surface and expand (this is a cool process to share with kids!)
- Once proofed, add salt and slowly add the flour and olive oil until a shaggy dough is formed. I started using a spatula and then dug in with my hands to work in all the flour. Form a round ball in the bowl but be careful not to work the dough too much. No need to use the Kitchen Aid for this recipe!
- Dust the top of your dough ball with little bit of flour then cover with a towel. My Nanny’s trick was to wet a thin tea towel with hot water to cover the dough with and then place the bowl on top of the fridge for a little extra heat from the motor. I don’t have room on top of my fridge but placing the bowl on top of my dryer worked wonders. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size (about an hour) then split dough in 2 and roll out your baguettes.
Rolling out a Baguette
This is where it gets a little technical and where I struggled in my first attempt. Don't expect to make a perfect baguette on your first try. Rolling out dough takes some skill.
Sprinkle flour over your countertop.
Take the first ball of dough and gently knead it with the palm of your hand, until the dough gains a firmer consistency. Fold the dough over itself. Add a little more flour if necessary. (this is necessary if you are baking in a place with high humidity- don't be afraid to add more dough if the consistency is sticky)
Flatten the dough into a rectangle form with your hands (you don't need a rolling pin). Then fold the top of the rectangle down like the top of an envelop, about 3/4 of the way down. Using your fingers, press down on the seam.
Roll the folded top of the dough down so that you have a mini oblong rectangle. Press the seams and the flip the seam side down.
Spread your fingers on both hands and gently roll the dough down to create a baguette shape. Roll back and forth to elongate the baguette dough until it is about 12 inches long.
Set the first baguette on your cookie sheet or baguette pan.
Roll out the second baguette.
If you have a razor blade you can make incisions on the top of the baguette. A sharp knife also works using just the tip to make deft cuts into the baguette.
For beginners I suggest using a pair of kitchen scissors to score the baguettes as show below.
See video in the blog post for how Le Chef rolled out our baguettes and then cut (or scored) them beautifully to create tearable pieces to the baguette.
- Place the baguettes on a cookie sheet sprinkled with flour and then sprinkle a little more flour on top. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel. Let baguettes rise for another 30 minutes (uncovered) while oven preheats.
- Heat oven to 460 degrees. Once the oven is hot, fill a 9 inch pan halfway with water and place on the bottom rack of the oven. This creates steam and and is the key factor to that crackly crust we love .
- Bake for 25 minutes **(oven temperatures vary greatly! Please keep a close eye after 18 minutes - if they look dark golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them, they are done!). Remove the pan of water (very carefully!) and bake another 5 minutes or so. The baguettes should be beautifully golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Le Chef's Wife
** Le Chef's Wife tip: Oven temperatures can vary drastically! If this is the first time you are making these baguettes keep a very close eye on them, especially after 18 minutes or so. You want the crust to be a deep, rich golden brown but not too dark. If the top gets too dark too quickly, bring the rack down a notch and take out a few minutes earlier. Resist the temptation to bring the heat down too much - it is the hot heat that creates the delicious crust!
Keywords: baguettes, baguette, quick and easy baguette recipe, french bread