How to Make a Basic Baguette | Video Recipe


This video will teach you how to make a great baguette in almost any oven.


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This post is part of our ongoing Bread Baking Video Series, which teaches a wide array of baking techniques and recipes. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

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Nina
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Beautiful baguettes Jacob!

Jacob Burton
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Thanks Nina!
jstachef
LOL..now I know why artisan baguettes cost so muchsmiley That a lot of work

Jacob Burton
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It seems like a lot of work when presented in a detailed video like this, but each step really only takes a few minutes. You spend most of your time standing around, waiting for bread to ferment and proof. Fun project on a cold winter day.
Jorge Arribasplata
This is the best tutorial on French baguette I have found in the web so far, congratulations.
My question is are:
1. Are you baking on a normal oven or are you using a convection oven?
2. What would be the difference/benefits between baking on a normal oven versus a convection oven? _ Thank you.

Jorge
Jacob Burton
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Hi Jorge, welcome to Stella Culinary! To answer you questions:

1) In the video I'm baking in a conventional oven (no fan).

2) Convection ovens are great for baking because they have a fan (usually located at the back) that circulate hot air throughout the oven. Even ovens that have high quality seals on their doors will still be hotter at the back then they are at the front because some heat will always escape through the door even when closed. A convection fan circulates hot air, so the hot spots in your oven aren't as noticeable.

In this video you'll notice that I rotate the pans 180 degrees and top to bottom. This is to counteract the fact that my oven, like most conventional or "normal ovens," have natural hot spots. The rotating of the pans allows for even baking.

So in short, if you're using a convection fan, you may or may not have to rotate your baking pans (depends on how efficient your fan is) although I would still recommend it if you notice that the bread is browning unevenly. What's more important though, is that the heat delivery with a convection oven is much more efficient, so even though you might still need to rotate your pans, you'll probably either (a), find that you need to bake at a slightly lower temperature (standard rule of thumb is 25ºF less) or for slightly less time (usually by about 5-10 minutes) depending on your oven. If I had to choose one, I would say drop your oven temp by 25ºF and still rotate your pans as demonstrated in the video.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Jacob
lkassianik
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Would using a baking stone better or worsen the baguettes?

Jacob Burton
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A baking stone would help with oven spring and crust formation. Place the baguettes right on top of the stone, spritz with a little water and then cover with an inverted pan for the first 15 minutes of baking to generate steam.

 

This method is actually better then the one I demonstrate in the video but a little more finicky.

lkassianik
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So when you say "cover with an inverted pan for the first 15 minutes", is that instead of the "tin foil" method of capturing steam? If so, are the two methods interchangeable?

Jacob Burton
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Yes, it is different and they are interchangeable. You can use the same hotel pan in the video and invert that over the baguettes to capture the steam. The whole idea is since you're using a baking stone, you'll want the baguettes to be in direct contact with the stone, so you will not need molds.

 

When ready to bake, score the baguettes and slide onto your baking stone. You can either invert the hotel pan on top, or try steaming the oven with a hot cast iron pan and a boiling cup of water placed on the bottom of the oven.

lkassianik
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If the windowpane test will be passed merely by letting the dough sit there for a few minutes, what is the goal when you let it sit there between the two times you perform the windowpane test? Wouldn't it be the same if you just let it rise after you're done kneading?

Jacob Burton
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The reason why I let the dough rest in the middle of kneading is because the gluten strands were starting to become very tight, making the dough difficult to work. If you let the dough rest for a few minutes when this happens, the gluten strands will relax and allow you to continue kneading.

 

In contrast to this, the "no-knead" method requires a higher hydration and a little more time, where as the kneading process shown in this video forms the gluten structure before the initial bulk fermentation. In the no knead method, you need to stretch and fold the dough over the course of 1.5-3 hours and then bulk ferment. It's just a matter of how much time you want to spend on this project and how "open" you want your crumb to be (the "no-knead" method usually yields a more airy crumb).

 

I do plan on eventually shooting a video that demonstrates a no-knead baguette.

Milan

Best French Baguette tutorial.  

 

Question: Can I use the "french kneading" method for kneading the dough about 4-6 times and then resting for 20 minutes?  

 

video on "french kneading": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvdtUR-XTG0

 

 

Another question: Any lessons provided in the SF Bay Area?

 

Last question:  Do you notice a difference in flavor compared to the no kneading method?  

 

Looks like i have one more question: If I did allow the dough to rest overnight (as described in the no kneading method) and yet I do knead it, will it mess up the end product?  I want to experiment with it.

 

Cheers

milan

 

 

Jacob Burton
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  1. Any kneading method that develops gluten will work, so yes, the French Kneading method will work fine.
  2. I don't provide any lessons in SF but I do in Truckee, which is a 4 hour drive up i-80. We have a five day boot camp planned for November, one day of which will cover bread basics.
  3. The flavor of no-knead is sometimes more complex because if the dough is over kneaded, you can incorporate too much air which in turn oxidizes the flour, causing some flavor loss. However, assuming that the dough is kneaded properly, the biggest difference in no knead bread is the more open crumb (which sometimes you want, other times you don't).
  4. If you let the dough sit overnight, there is no reason to knead it the following day since the gluten structure will already be developed from such a long rest. At that point, all you need to do is degas, form, proof and bake.

Let me know if you have any more questions and welcome to Stella Culinary.

Jacob Burton
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PS: I use the French Kneading method in both the sourdough boule video and the European style brown bread video (it is my proffered kneading method). If you're into making bread, I would highly recommend out Stella Bread Playlist, found here: http://www.stellaculinary.com/sb.

Igor Alexander
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Hey Jacob great lesson!

About Yeast? Do you use fresh or dry yeast, because I heard that the percentage it`s different for each one...

Tks a lot!

Jacob Burton
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I use active dry yeast in this video.

Joe
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I have been trying to make baguette several times, but it never come out good. My baguette has a crunchy crust, but the inside is not as soft as the fresh baguette you buy at the store. I have been using good quality all purpose flour or bread flour, but still could not duplicate the result. The inside of my baguette lack of air space even though I let it raise until it double in size. Do I missed important step in my bread preparation? What I need to do to make sure that my baguette is nice and soft on the inside and have plenty of air? Thank you for your help.
Marco099
Hi Chef,

I'm wondering what is the proper way to transfer the formed, proofed loaf from a banneton or a metal mold on to my baking stone without damaging or collapsing the loaves in any way? 

Thanks.
Jacob Burton
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We use a "couche" which is a thik piece of canvas that we dust with flour. We pinch the canvas to form pleats, and then proof the baguettes in these pleats. When it comes time to bake, we use a transfer board to move the loafs from the couche to the baking peel.
Moskitohouse
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Dear Jacob, I wazched all the videos,tried all the breads and they are so Great!!I wish there would have been one German site As good,but hey nothing beats the States:-) Best wishes from Nürnberg,Germany
Wartface
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Chef Jacob... My lady friend that I taught to make Ciabatta bread... Has decided she wants to learn to make French baggettes, that have a crisp crust. It seems the only difference is the water content. 65% VS 80%. I... Want to tempt her with using a natural yeast, a sourdough starter. If I remember correctly to do that I remove the commercial yeast and divide the water and flour by 1/3's and replace the yeast with my starter... Which is 100% hydration. Will that do the trick?
Jacob Burton
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Yes. So here's the basic recipe with commercial yeast:

800 g Flour, AP (See notes for more info)
520 g Water (About 90F/31C)
7 g Yeast (Active Dry)
16 g Salt

Here would be the sourdough version:
  • 500g Poolish Sourdough Starter (100% hydration)
  • 550g AP or Bread Flour
  • 270g Water
  • 16g Salt

Good Luck!
Wartface
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Thanks Chef Jacob... You are a great help. I'm going to be cooking at Mary's house this weekend. She has a regular oven. I'm going to use a baggette mold that has room for just three baggette's. I don't have any way to cover the mold with the 3 baggettes in it. I think I'll use the cast iron skillet method. Is there any value to place the baggette mold on top of my baking stone or should I not bother with the stone? I think I'll use the remaining dough to make dinner rolls.
Jacob Burton
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When using the baguette molds, the undersized doesn't always brown as nicely as the top side, so yes, placing the mold directly on a stone will help.

See if you can find anything large enough to fit over the baguette molds, just like you do when making your boules and placing a bowl over the top. I've unfortunately never had much luck with a hot pan in the oven for steam generation.

Sounds like you're planning a pretty epic meal. Good luck.
Wartface
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Thank you Chef Jacob... I just received my couche and flipping board from ups today. Those will come in handy for these bagguette's. Yes this will be a fun (epic) cook. I look forward to learning new cooking skills. I was very impressed with the braised short rib meal I had in that resturant last week I knew I must learn how to make this dish. Funny thing is I had watched your video on braising short ribs hours before we went to dinner. I'm sure that's why I ordered them.
Jacob Burton
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Just watch the short rib video and follow all the steps and you'll be golden. Very easy technique if you just pay attention to the finer points ...

And don't forget to skim and glaze!
Wartface
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I'll have my iPad nearby to watch the video as I do it. On the chicken stock will the carcasses of 2 chickens be enough to make enough stock for this cook?
Jacob Burton
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Yes, the carcasses will be enough stock for this braise.

If you have any more questions on the other techniques, feel free to create a new forum topic, that way we don't derail this thread on baguettes.
Wartface
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Gotcha... This has been a good thread. Sorry.
Wartface
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Hmmm... Just curious if a longer preferment of just the flour and water... Without any starter, is better than a 30 minute to 2 hour one. I could start my preferment before I go to bed at night then in the morning add the rest of the flour and starter. Then do the stretch and folds. Adding the salt on the second stretch and fold...?
Wartface
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Chef Jacob... Mary says she prefers to learn to make the Baguettes with commercial yeast because she doesn't have a SD starter and travels to much to bother with one. So my question today is, does it make a difference either way if you use bread flour instead of AP. Also you mentioned I would get a more open crumb using just the stretch fold method instead of the kneading process. I'm aiming for a crisp crust and open crumb. I assume I should do about 4 stretch and folds and eliminate the kneading for that... Correct?
Jacob Burton
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@ Wartface,

Yes. Eliminate the kneading and do just stretch and folds. You can also raise the hydration by about 5%, which will give you a more open crumb.

Let me know how it turns out.
Wartface
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Cool... I like this bakers percentage thing. I actually know what you mean. We will take pictures.
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I baked this recipe yesterday. I scaled it down to 600 grams of flour because I have a 3 loaf baguette pan. I used bread flour instead of AP. All came out pretty good. I didn't get great ears this time but I will work on that. The bread tasted great. I baked them in a convection oven using the hotel pan with ice cubes covered with tin foil. That worked like a champ. I didn't do a great job of shaping... image I baked them at 475 degrees for the first 10 minutes and then removed the tin foil and I turned the temp down to 425. image They have a very nice color... image The crumb was nice too... image The Pyrex bowl in this picture is over a sourdough version of this same recipe. Pictures of that batch will come later today. I fermented it over night in the fridge.
iamscharles
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Hi Jacob,
When using the poolish preferment, should the water temperature be as usual.. lukewarm?
Jacob Burton
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@ iamscharles,

Cold or room temperature. If the water is too hot, the pre-ferment will be ferment too quickly, defeating the purpose.
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