French Baguette Recipe: How to Make Authentic Baguettes at Home

Making French baguettes at home may seem intimidating, but with a little patience and practice, you can create these deliciously crusty and chewy loaves in your own kitchen. Follow this detailed recipe to achieve the perfect homemade baguettes.


  • Main Ingredients:
    • 700g (25 oz) strong white bread flour
    • 520g (19 oz) cold water
    • 1 tsp (8g) salt
    • ½ tsp (2g) instant or active dried yeast (or 8g fresh yeast)


1. Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix them together thoroughly to ensure the yeast and salt are evenly distributed throughout the flour.

2. Add Water and Mix: Add the water to the dry ingredients. Mix until it forms a sticky dough. This dough will be quite wet, which is essential for achieving the baguettes’ signature texture.

3. Initial Rest: Cover the bowl with cling film or a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 45 minutes. This rest allows the dough to hydrate and the gluten to start developing.

4. Folding Process: After 45 minutes, wet your hands to prevent sticking and gently fold the dough by giving it 5 or 6 turns. To fold, lift one side of the dough and fold it over itself. Rotate the bowl slightly and repeat until you’ve gone all the way around the bowl. Cover and let it rest again for another 45 minutes. Repeat this folding and resting process 2 more times, for a total of 3 folds and rests. This process helps develop the dough’s structure without the need for extensive kneading.

5. Divide and Pre-Shape: After the final 45-minute rise, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide it into 4 equal pieces. Pre-shape each piece into a rough cylinder by gently flattening the dough and folding it into a loose roll. Cover the pre-shaped cylinders with oiled cling film and let them rest for 15 minutes. This rest period allows the dough to relax, making it easier to shape.

6. Shape into Baguettes: After 15 minutes, shape the pre-formed cylinders into baguettes. To do this, gently flatten a cylinder into a rectangle. Fold the long edges of the rectangle into the center, pressing lightly to seal. Roll the dough into a log shape and gently roll it to your desired baguette length. Place the formed baguettes onto a well-floured baker’s couche cloth or a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and let them rise for 20 minutes.

7. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 220°C (430°F / Gas mark 7 to 8). Place a tray of hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven to create steam. The steam helps develop a crispy crust on the baguettes.

8. Final Rise and Oven Preparation: After the 20-minute rise, uncover the baguettes and let them rest for an additional 10 to 12 minutes while the oven heats up. This final rest allows the dough to expand slightly, preparing it for baking.

9. Score and Bake: Lightly grease baking trays and transfer the baguettes to the trays. Spray the baguettes with a little water and score them with a sharp knife or a lame. Scoring helps control the expansion of the dough during baking and gives the baguettes their traditional appearance. Place the baguettes in the hot oven, spray the inside of the oven with water, and bake for 16 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown. The steam and high heat create a crispy crust while keeping the inside soft and chewy.

10. Cool and Serve: Remove the baguettes from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool. Letting the baguettes cool slightly before slicing ensures the interior sets properly and enhances the flavor.

11. Enjoy: Enjoy your freshly baked French baguettes! They are perfect on their own, with butter, or as a base for a delicious sandwich.

Tips for Perfect Baguettes

Use Strong Bread Flour: Strong bread flour has a higher protein content, which helps develop the gluten needed for a chewy texture.

Hydrate the Dough Well: A high hydration dough (sticky and wet) is key to creating the open crumb structure characteristic of baguettes.

Create Steam: Steam in the oven is crucial for a crispy crust. If you don’t have a tray for water, you can also spray water into the oven with a spray bottle.

Practice Patience: Good baguettes take time. Allow the dough to rest and rise properly during each step for the best results.

Serving Suggestions

With Butter: Serve warm slices of baguette with butter for a simple and delicious treat.

As a Sandwich: Use your baguette to make a classic French sandwich, like a jambon beurre (ham and butter).

With Cheese and Charcuterie: Pair slices of baguette with cheese and charcuterie for a perfect appetizer or snack.

Health Benefits of Key Ingredients

Bread Flour: High in protein, bread flour helps build muscle and repair tissues. It also provides energy through its carbohydrate content.

Yeast: Yeast is a source of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and selenium.

Baking French baguettes at home is a rewarding experience that yields delicious results. With this detailed recipe, you can achieve crispy, chewy baguettes that rival those from a bakery. Enjoy the process and the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread in your kitchen!

Leave a Comment