Basic Baguette Recipe

how-to-make-a-baguette.jpg

Summary

Yield
Baguettes
SourceJacob Burton
Prep time4 hours
Recipes
Site CategoriesLean Doughs Breads

Description

This recipe and it's methods were developed to replicate a decent baguette in a home oven, complete with the ever hard to achieve "crackly" crust. For a detailed video on how to make this baguette, including shaping and baking technique, please refer to the link in the "notes" section below.

Ingredients

800gFlour, AP (See notes for more info)
520gWater (About 90F/31C)
7gYeast (Active Dry)
16gSalt

Instructions

Since this recipe is covered in detail in our basic baguette video, these instructions will serve as a reference point for those who are already comfortable with this technique and do not want to re-watch the video. For step by step instructions, please watch our "How To Make A Basic Baguette Video."

  1. Mix together water and yeast and then combine with flour.
  2. Bring together and autolyse for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Knead until dough passes "Windowpane Test."
  4. Bulk ferment for about 2 hours at room temperature or until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Proof for 1-1.5 hours at room temperature or until baguettes have grown to 1.5 their original size.
  6. Bake in molds, in hotel pans, with 4-6 ice cubes, covered tightly with tin foil, at 500F/260C for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove foil, drop oven temperature to 425F/218C and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Rotate pans top to bottom, front to back, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until baguettes are a dark golden brown on top.
  9. To make sure the crumb is fully set, you can take the internal temperature of the baguettes, which should register at 205F/96C. You can also tap the bottom of the loaves with your thumb; if the crust is fully set, the baguettes will sound hallow.

Notes

Please refer to the Basic Baguette Video Show Notes for more detailed information.

Tools Used In This Recipe

Further Information You Might Find Helpful

50 comments

Truth Serum
a thing of beauty
This video was the best video I have ever seen on making baguettes. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge and baking skills.
Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Thanks for the great
Thanks for the great compliment; I'm glad you enjoyed the video.
Gringo
Basic Baguette
All my bread baking experience so far was with bread baking machines. I followed the video tutorial step by step and the result was amazing. The best baguette my family ever had. They could not believe I made it myself. I love your site, podcast and especially the video tutorials. I love the fact you teach how to cook and not just how to follow a specific recipe. Thanks for the great information.
Gringo
Basic Baguette - Pizza crust
Can the same steam generating technique (ice cubes) be used to make a nice pizza crust?
Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
@ Gringo
@ Gringo,

Glad your baguette turned our great and the video was helpful. The steaming method is generally used for crackly crusts like you'll find on baguettes, French breads and other European style artisan loaves.

Pizza crust however is not steamed. The best thing that you can do to improve your pizza crust is to use a pizza stone...well, and follow this website. We just started our bread baking series and we will cover different styles and techniques for pizza in the coming months.

Let me know if you have any more questions,

Jacob
Gringo
bread baking series
I look forward to see the pizza feature... a video on how to make great butter croissants would also fantastic
pliekkio
crust and crumb
Thank you thank you. Bread (plus wine and cheese) is essential. I have been baking good sour dough wheat and Rye breads for many years. Never could get the crust and crumb quite the way I wanted. Your video has taken my breads to the next level. Thank you thank you.
Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Glad to hear the video was
Glad to hear the video was helpful. It's amazing what just a little steam injection does for your crust. Happy baking!
donner2000
Flour Type
First off, I just want to say how very impressive your site evolution has been. I've been following your podcasts since the FCS days, and you never cease to impress me with your knowledge, skill and patience. WELL DONE!

I noticed in this version you are using AP flour instead of bread flour. Could you please outline your rational?

Thanks again,
Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Great question. The All
Great question. The All Purpose flour is used to replicate the texture of a French baguette which traditionally uses type 55 flour. Type 55 flour has a gluten content of 11.5%, which is closer to that of American AP then American Bread Flour (generally containing 13-14% gluten). It is important to note that you use a national brand that is formulated for baking, other southern regional brands have a much lower gluten content and are made from weaker wheat, which makes the flour more appropriate for pie crusts and biscuits.

11.5% is plenty of gluten content to build a structurally sound dough with a crumb that is closer to European style bread. To make it even more like a French baguette, which has a higher ash (mineral) content, replace 1/4 of your AP flour with twice sifted whole wheat flour.

Glad you're enjoying the site.

Jacob
esavitzky
esavitzky's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/16/2011
Stella Stars: 2099
Baguettes
Jacob,

My hotel pan and baguette mold finally arrived so I gave the baguettes a go this weekend.  Did the stretch and fold 5 times as well as the kneading and it resulted in a pretty airy crumb.  Tasted great but I'll wait to use my sourdough starter the next time as the taste was not comparable.

Thanks for the help.




Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Substitute 200g of flour and
Substitute 200g of flour and 200g of water for 400g of your poolish sourdough starter. Allow to do a long slow rise and consider retarding overnight in your fridge either during the bulk fermentation process or right after forming.

Nice pictures.
esavitzky
esavitzky's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/16/2011
Stella Stars: 2099
I assume no yeast then since
I assume no yeast then since I am using the poolish?
Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Yep, no yeast necessary. In
Yep, no yeast necessary. In fact, your starter's yeast will kill the commercial yeast which could give your bread an off flavor.
pliekkio
My main problem with the
My main problem with the video is that I am gaining weight from all the good bread this video has enabled me to bake. Crust is crackly and the crumb is of mixed hole sizes. Neither have I previously been able to achieve. The flavor when made with sour dough starter is wonderful. I do still notice a difference with breads that I have had in San Francisco. I'm not getting quite the sour I'm looking for however I think with time I'll figure it out and of course I am anticipating future videos.  I do have a question concerning one subtle difference I am observing. It seems to me that some artisan sourdoughs have more of a crumb shine or glossiness that I have yet to be able to achieve. Not enough kneading? This weekend I did a double batch of dough and half is visible below. One regular boule, one loaf with caramelized onions, and one loaf with jalapenos. The remaining dough is resting overnight to increase the sourness.


 IMG_2602
donner2000
Basic Baguette Rolls
Using the recipe, I made these fabulous rolls to go along with my braised beef brisket. The crispiness of these rolls were perfect with the brisket and stood up with the brisket gravy. Not to mention tasting damn good on their own. I scaled them out at 100 g each (yield 13 rolls) and ended up with a 77 g (2.7 oz) roll. A little too big for a dinner roll, and slightly too small to make sandwiches. However, for my use (Braised Brisket on a Crusty Bun) it was ideal. Kind'a like a ramped up Sloppy Joe.

I have some observations and some questions:
I did the pull n' fold (official terminology) method 6 times as recommended. In the video, you go on to show how to knead the dough, then add the salt, then do the window pane test after kneading.

Was I supposed to do both the pull n' fold and the kneading (I did both)? If not, when would I have incorporated the salt?

When incorporating the salt while kneading, it went everywhere. During the kneading process the undisolved Kosher salt (course) kept falling to the board, and felt awful in the dough. I let it rest, and once hydrated and disolved was much better. But I was really afraid that I over-worked the dough.

The directions say to knead the dough until it passes the window-pane test. It would only do the window pane, after I let it rest. I could not knead it and immediately do the test. When I double checked the video, it made it sound like the test happens at the end of the kneading process, but your boule looks like it rested. Can you clarify this step?

Because I wasn't using baguette molds, I trayed them with parchment and scored each twice. I put a 2" half pan in the bottom of the oven (475o F, convection), and filled it with water when the dough went in. The oven spring was a beautiful thing. After 10 minutes, I rotated the trays, removed the water pan, and reduced the temperature by 50o F. After another 10 minutes, I turned the trays and changed shelves. I left them for another 12-15 minutes. Beautiful golden brown crust. I did not probe them.

I placed them on cooling racks, where they sat happily crackling away. It sounded like Snap, Krackle and Pop were partying it up! As they cooled, little white (opaque) pimples formed on the crust, and on some, the crust actually cracked. Although, not at all unpleasant, I am curious why that happened.

The crumb was gorgeous, with tight little cells (probably from kneading?), but again perfect for my use.

I apologized for the indepth play-by-play, but this is the first time I have pulled bread from the oven that I have been this excited about. Usually it has been a really blah experience.

Thank you for showing us how great this can be.

Marc

Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Hey Marc, Nice looking
Hey Marc,

Nice looking rolls. Thanks for the photo and taking the time to post your questions and play by play. So let's do this!
  1. The stretch and fold is done instead of kneading. It takes longer but is less physical work and will yield a more open crumb. The salt is added during the first stretch and fold.
  2. When incorporating the salt if performing the classic kneading method, I would recommend adding the salt, giving the dough a few turns, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes and the go back to it. This isn't 100% necessary, but it sounds like you were struggling with the salt slightly, so this is what I would recommend. You can kill two birds with one stone by adding the salt and doing a single stretch and fold at the same time. Let rest, then either knead as demonstrated or continue with the stretch and fold method.
  3. Re Windowpane: You'll notice that in the video (at around 4:40 or so) I say that I've been kneading the baguette dough for about 6 minutes and the dough tears when I do the window pane test. I then let the dough rest briefly, come back, do a quick stretch and fold and the dough easily passes the windowpane test. So yes, it is advantageous to let the dough rest, which is why I actually prefer the stretch and fold method over standard kneading. I'll also commonly retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator right after I add my salt. The next day, the dough will have a more complex flavor structure and a developed gluten network that will only need a few stretch and folds to whip it into shape.
  4. The crack of the crust and "white pimples" is just the crust settling. In fact, it's a good sign; it means that you baked the bread long enough for the interior moisture to evaporate to the point where the crust can "cure" as it cools.

I think that covers it. Let me know if I missed something or if you have any follow ups. From the picture, the rolls look beautiful. I like how you took the method and made it your own!

Happy Baking,

Jacob
donner2000
Thanks again for your
Thanks again for your feedback and comments. I don't know how you have the time to maintain the site, videos, and podcasts, while maintaining a young family and a full time job. I appreciate your dedication and all the valuable information.

Marc
Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
@ Pliekkio, Can you be more
@ Pliekkio,

Can you be more specific about the "crumb shine?"

Also, we will be talking about how to make a super-sour loaf of bread in an upcoming lecture and video but here it is in a nutshell: the longer and colder the fermentation, the more sour the loaf. Also, feeding your starter whole wheat flour instead of bread flour will make it more sour. However, the more acid present in your dough, the weaker your gluten network will become so you're always walking that fine line between a sour flavor and well structured loaf.

Nice looking bread. Thanks for sharing!
pliekkio
Crumb shine

I just finished browsing through Matt Robertsons Tartine bread book and he describes it as pearlescent.

Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Do you have a page number for

Do you have a page number for that? I have the book here in my office.

esavitzky
esavitzky's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/16/2011
Stella Stars: 2099
Page 22, third line from the

Page 22, third line from the bottom:

 

"As we were readying to leave for the Alps, Daniel offered us a ride.  He wanted to detour through Bordeaux to visit his aging father, and we had the time.  The day we left, he made a small batch of bread specially for his father.  It was a wetter dough than usual, with a long bulk rise, which he baked hot and dark.  The crumb had huge, pearlescent holes, and the crust cracked as it cooled.  The bread seemed alive, even as it cooled and settled.  While he packed the bread for the journey, Daniel commented that "this is the way that I would always make bread for myself----but my customers would not buy it."  It was a radical bread-- a study in extremes -- and I was much closer to finding the loaf with an old soul."

 

True poetry.

pliekkio
pearlescent holes

I'm glad you found the quote. I was going to have to reborrow the book to find it. Maybe I should just go ahead and buy it.

 

keep baking,

Pete

Kathy
Offline
Joined: 10/03/2012
Stella Stars: 110
Love your Site and Video- Couple of questions

Thank you for the great video and recipe. I made it today and love the baguette. Just had a couple of quick questions. I followed the recipe exact except only made 1 loaf. It rose beautifully and is a nice golden brown. The question I had is with the crust. Sometimes when you are in a store and you push on the bread it cracks and also when you bite into it you can hear the crunch.

 

You mentioned earlier about "To make it even more like a French baguette, which has a higher ash (mineral) content, replace 1/4 of your AP flour with twice sifted whole wheat flour." If I were to do this would it have more crunch? Love the taste of it but just want that crunch. My only other thought would be a bit of sugar, maybe?

 

Keep up the great work!

Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Steam?

Hi Kathy,

 

The "crackly" crust that you're referring to comes from the application of steam during the initial stages of baking (usually the first 5-15 minutes). Did you use the baguette molds, hotel pan and foil method as demonstrated in the video?

 

The addition of the whole wheat flour adds a complexity of flavor and a slightly more "sturdy" texture, but the steam is what you really need to create that crust you're after.

Kathy
Offline
Joined: 10/03/2012
Stella Stars: 110
Thanks for getting back so

Thanks for getting back so fast. Yes, I used the hotel pan and the baguette mold. I placed 6 ice cubes and also covered it with the foil. Put it on the top shelf of the oven at 500 for 10 min. When I took the foil off there was lots of steam!

 

Followed the directions the rest of the way and it tastes really good. 

Jacob Burton
Jacob Burton's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2010
Stella Stars: 17890
Hmmm...the steam should have
Hmmm...the steam should have done the trick. Just to clarify, your crust was not crackly? How would you describe it?
Kathy
Offline
Joined: 10/03/2012
Stella Stars: 110
I would describe it as slight

I would describe it as slight crunch but not crackly. If you push in on the bread it doesn't crack. Also when eating it there is no big crumbs on the plate. Since I took a picture of it I will try tonight to post it so you can see what it looks like. I know that my bread isn't as brown as yours but does make that hollow sound when you tap it.

 

One thing that I may have done wrong is that once it was done steaming and took the foil off I left it on the top shelf. Next after 10 min (20 min mark) I rotated it and moved the bread down to the next shelf in the oven. It was just starting to brown at this point. I then baked for another 10 min.

Kathy
Offline
Joined: 10/03/2012
Stella Stars: 110
Pictures of Bread

Here is a couple of pictures of the bread. One I took as it was cooling on the counter. The picture of the one sliced I actually took out of the freezer since we didn't eat it all to show you the crumb texture. I got to thinking that there is a bread we buy and that is what I am trying to duplicate. It's called Vie de France baguette. Are you familiar with it?