Authentic Crusty French Baguette Recipe

May 30, 2021

Use this detailed crusty French bread recipe for delicious baguettes that are crusty outside and fluffy inside! And it is so simple even a novice can make them!

This classic French bread recipe takes time to make, but as most of that is inactive prep time, you shouldn't let it intimidate you. The process itself is extremely rewarding, and while it takes practice to make a perfectly crusty French baguette, it isn’t as complicated as people make it out.

Not to mention, this crusty and fluffy French baguette recipe uses only 5 ingredients to make flavorful baguettes that go with everything from soups to salads and can even be used to make amazing French baguette sandwiches. Just how cool is that!

French BaguettePhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %86
Difficulty Hard
Servings 2 people
Preparation 660 mins
Cooking 40 mins
Total 700 mins

Tips

  • Use only slightly warm water (about 90°F) and a long fermentation period for a richer, more complex flavor.
  • If not using Morton kosher salt, use the same amount by weight of other brands of kosher salt.
  • Do not add any more flour than the recipe dictates, as baguettes need a very hydrated dough.
  • If you don’t have a pizza peel or unrimmed baking sheet, use a sheet pan turned upside down instead.
  • Baguette dough is essentially no-knead, so be sure to ferment for long enough between stretching to form the gluten structure.
  • When you add the rest of the ingredients to the poolish, it will look like there's not enough liquid but keep working, and you will get a nice, sticky dough.
  • Use a kitchen scale and the spoon-and-level method to ensure accurate measurements.
  • Create steam by adding ice to a preheated skillet to help with oven spring and texture.
  • Let baguettes cool before slicing to completely develop their flavor.

Ingredients

  • 60 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 160 grams of warm-filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 210 gr bread flour
  • For the poolish: 90 gr bread flour
  • For the poolish: 90gr warm filtered water
  • For the poolish: 1/4 tsp quick rise yeast

Directions

  1. Make the Poolish the night before by combining its ingredients in a large mixing bowl, covering with plastic wrap, and letting it stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours (preferably 8-10).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of poolish and stir until well combined. Work until you get a sticky dough and use your hands to knead slightly to hydrate all the flour. Once you have a shaggy dough with no dry spots, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. After the dough has rested, lightly dampen your hands and pull on one side of the dough to stretch it up and fold it down over the top of the dough. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and do the same with the next side. Repeat until all four sides are stretched and folded. Then cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 more minutes. Repeat two more times for four 30 minute resting periods with three stretches and folds in between.
  4. During the final resting period, position one oven rack at the very bottom of the oven with a cast iron skillet and another in the middle with a baking stone, baking steel, or upside-down sheet pan. Preheat to 500°F and have your oven and pan heat for at least an hour before baking. Also, set up a lightly floured lint free towel or baker's couche and prepare a pizza peel or an unrimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  5. Divide your dough into equal halves (about 305 grams each) by cutting and press one piece out into a rectangle on a very lightly floured surface, gently stretching the short ends out. Fold each short end into the center and press down with fingertips to seal. Then fold each long end into the center and press to create a seam. Set aside and repeat with the second piece. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.
  6. With the seam side up, press the first piece of dough into a thin rectangle. Fold down about 1/2" from the top-left edge and seal. Work across the top, repeating this process to create a thin, tight log. With the seam side down, roll on the countertop with both hands to work into a long thin snake shape. Keep the dough even, work it into a 14" baguette, and move to the prepared towel or baker's couche, pushing up on both sides to create folds to hold the dough shape. Repeat with the second piece.
  7. Cover both pieces with plastic wrap and rest for 45-60 minutes until doubled in size. Then transfer to a small cutting or baguette board by gently pulling up on the towel to flip the baguette onto the board. Move the baguette over to the parchment-lined pizza peel or baking sheet and gently flip so the seam side is down. Repeat with the second baguette and cut 4 to 5 1/4" deep diagonal slashes into the top with a sharp knife or bread lame.
  8. Gently slide parchment paper with baguettes onto the preheated baking stone or sheet pan and quickly pour 2 cups of ice cubes into the preheated skillet before shutting the oven door. Turn oven temperature down to 475°F and bake for about 25-40 minutes (25 for light and 40 for dark crust). Allow baguettes to cool before slicing.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 French Baguette
Serves 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories651
% Daily Value*
Protein 21 g42%
Total Fat 2.79 g3.6%
Sodium 1169 mg50.8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

What is baguette (French bread)?

A baguette is a type of french bread commonly made from basic lean dough. It is long and thin and commonly around 26 inches in length, although some French baguettes can be up to 39 inches long.

How to make French baguettes from scratch?

The main skills required to make delicious French baguettes from scratch using this authentic crusty French baguette recipe are shaping a no-knead dough by folding and stretching, scoring at deep oblique angles, and steaming using a preheated pan and ice.

What flour is the best for baguette?

Use French flour for perfect baguettes with crispy crusts and fluffy insides. The best French flour for crusty French baguettes is type 55 flour which has a low protein content, although you can also use all-purpose or bread flour if French flour is unavailable.

How to keep French bread baguette fresh?

Keep your French bread baguette fresh by putting it in a long linen bread bag (sac à baguette) once it cools completely. You can also wrap your crusty French baguette in aluminum foil to keep it fresh for up to 2 days at room temperature.

How to store a baguette?

Never store your baguette in the fridge, as that will speed up the staling process. If you want to keep your French baguette for more than a couple of days, freeze in an airtight freezer bag and gently reheat in the oven when required. This will keep the bread fresh for up to 3 months.

Did you make this recipe?

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