I made stuffed shells for our family Christmas gathering and well, I wanted to try my hand at making a french baguette. You know the nice long loaves of bread in the pretty paper bags at the store. How hard could this be, right?
How To Make A French Baguette
Before I dive into how I made this, I played around with different flour ratios until it came out right. This baguette is so fluffy. You can even make a sandwich out of it.
- Dissolve the yeast in the water and stir.
- Add the flour and salt to a bowl. Stir together.
- Combine the cold water and yeast with the flour mixture. Using your Danish whisk, give it a good stir.
- Once the dough is all combined, add it to your stand-up mixer bowl.
- Attaching the dough hook, turn on the mixer to the #2 setting.
- While the dough is kneading, add the oil and the honey.
- Increase the mixer speed as needed. The dough will be kneaded once it starts to pull away from the bowl. I usually go for about 15-20 minutes.
- Cover the bowl and let rise for about 45 minutes.
- You can tell if it’s risen properly by sticking a wet finger in the dough. If the whole doesn’t close up, it’s ready.
- Now, punch down the dough. Cut into two pieces. Make sure you have a little flour on your surface.
- Next, roll each piece into a long skinny loaf. Make the loaves half the size of the pan but just as long. Place each loaf in a floured couche and cover. Let rise until double.
- Place the loaves in the baguette pans and cut diagonal slashes on each top. Preheat the oven, lightly mist the loaves and then bake them.
How To Get That Good Rise
Using cold water will add to the way this loaf rises and tastes. My daughter said it was one of my best loaves of all time and I bake a lot of bread haha.
You can add more water as you’re kneading. Just make sure it’s super cold.
When you get to the step where you are splitting the dough in half, roll the dough with a pin. This will activate the yeast a little more and give you a good rise as well.
French Baguette Bread
- 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup Warm Water
- 600 g Fresh-Milled White Wheat Flour
- 225 g Artisan Bread Flour
- 2 1/2 tsp Real Pink Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Really Cold Water
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Raw Local Honey
- Combine the yeast and warm water, stir.
- Place the flour, salt, yeast and cold water in a bowl and give it a good stir.
- Once it's all mixed, add it to the stand-up mixer bowl or if you plan on kneading by hand, you can leave the dough in this bowl.
- Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on to the #2 setting.
- You can bump up the speed to #4 or #6 at this point, if necessary. Add the honey and oil. Just watch the speed so the bowl isn't knocking. It should take about 15-20 minutes to knead the dough in the mixer. If kneading by hand, it may take 500-600 strokes. You can also set your timer for 15 minutes.
- Cover the bowl and let rise for about 45 minutes. It should be doubled in size.
- Next, take a wet finger and stick it in the dough. If the hole doesn't close up, then it rose perfectly.
- Now, punch down the bread with your fist. Separate the dough into two pieces.
- Add a little bit of flour to your surface and roll each dough piece into long skinny loaves. Depending on the width of your pan, make the loaf 1/2 the size to allow for expanding during the final rising process.
- Place each loaf in a floured linen couche and cover. Let the loaves rise now for about 30 minutes.
- Once risen, place each loaf on a baguette loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 425. Mist each loaf a few times with water and bake the loaves for 10 minutes. The misting will give each loaf a nice crust.
- Next, reduce the temperature to 375. Now, bake the loaves for 20 minutes. The loaves should be a golden brown on top.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!
- Make sure the water is really cold when you are adding it to the flour. Add more as needed, when kneading. The cold water will determine the rise and flavor of your loaves.
- You can use all bread flour if you like. I’d go another 10 minutes on the kneading though. Feel free to try other grains as well. I’m going to try using Einkorn, Khorasan, and some others. You’ll just need to make adjustments with different flours and water
- This can definitely be made with a sourdough starter.
- A cookie sheet is fine to use. The baguette pan just helps keep its shape.