Traditional baguettes by hand

Picture of Traditional baguettes by hand
Bread making can be one of the most zen things a cook can do. And while companies who make bread machines and bread mixes have a vested interest in convincing you that it is a time consuming, difficult process requiring a ton of equipment or specialized mixes; in fact, it's a really simple, really easy process.
This instructable will walk you through making two loaves of baguette bread. Following the French tradition, measurements for flour and water are by weight. Because there can be a huge variance when using measuring cups, I've found this method the most successful.
For a traditional white recipe you'll need:
  • 18 ounces of bread flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons dry active yeast, or 1/3 ounce of fresh yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I use Kosher salt that I've pestled down to a smaller grain)
  • 12.5 ounces of water
Tools: Mixing bowl, kitchen scale, counter-top or other smooth surface, bowl scraper, clean hands, baking sheet, kitchen scissors or razor, oven.

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Step 1: Measure and Mix

Picture of Measure and Mix
Measure your bread flour into large bowl.
Add salt
Add yeast to flour and crumble into the flour with your fingertips. (I don't proof the yeast, I've never found it to be necessary.)
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the water.
Using your scraper, fold the water and flour mix together into a shaggy blend.
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Cyncha2271 year ago
What wonderful breads you have made! I saw the tutorial, and the other breads as well. I would love to know about the dark loaf with sunflower seeds (maybe)! I have moved across the country and plan to try the baguette as soon as I am able after we get into our own house. I'm really inspired by your post! I am just getting into breads after making pizza for decades. I think it's time, and you are my inspiration! Thank you!

Whoo Hoo! My first time ever making bread. Unfortunately my attempt to upload a picture of it has failed for some reason. It's a little burnt on the bottom, a little doughy in the middle, and a little too chewy overall, but for a first attempt I am very pleased with the results. Thank you for this awesome Instructable! :-)

cnc-bee9 months ago

For baguettes you should do a pre-dough

1/3 of the flour - same weight of water. Pinch of yeast. Mix and let rest at room temperature for 12 hours. Deduct that from the main recipe. It will start to bubble and will have a strong sour smell - that's what you want! Then proceed as normal and mix the predough in when you do the main dough.

Thank you! My baguettes look amazing. Can't wait to share them at this potluck tonight! Woo hoo for homemade bread!
dvinson11 year ago
My baguettes! Thank you!
dvinson11 year ago
I'm making this right now! I'm on the last step of just waiting for the oven to preheat, I'm excited to eat this bread! Hopefully I did it right, should I brush the top with egg white??
I've made "french" bread a few times and the problem has always been the cuts, because my recipe says to cut it after the second rise before going to the oven. When I do that, it always deflates the bread a lot. I'm gonna give this one a try and as soon as I do I let you guys know.
Thanks for sharing :)
CrazeexGood5 years ago
French bread pizza!
The pizza dough recipe is very similar to a plain bread recipe. Just add 1 table spoon per 100gr of flour.

And btw, what is French bread pizza? (I'm French) Do you mean well risen dough?

One more thing, you are missing a very important part in your baguette making process : the shaping!

Here is a link were they explain the whole process of baguette making

Basically, you need to capture air in the dough by pressing down the edges to the centre. This should be done once every 20 minutes while the dough is rising.

Then you can shape the finished product into a baguette shape rolling from the centre to the edges with your fingers wide spread apart.

Not sure if this makes sense...

Happy bread making!
french bread is a typeof bread sold in america french bread pizza is a baquaut with melted chese on top and add pizza toppings
french bread is a typeof bread sold in america french bread pizza is a baquaut with melted chese on top and add pizza toppings
SoapyHollow (author)  CrazeexGood5 years ago
Mmmm! If you want to do that, add a little olive oil to the bowl for first rest, and then for second rest, press the dough out to fit your pizza tray or baking tray, and brush it with olive oil and and let it do a brief (20 minute or so) second rise. Bake for just a couple of minutes, then add all your toppings and bake for another 15 or so minutes. I'll be sort of a foccaccia / fluffy deep dish. (You could also add a tablespoon or so of oil to dough when you're mixing it up to make it a little softer.) Man, now I want pizza. :)
jdenton22 years ago
crestind5 years ago
Will this recipe work if I use all purpose flour instead of bread flour?
Great recipe! Somehow I managed to screw it up partially, and got thin area of raw dough in the center of one of them (too thick?), but the other loaf turned out fantastic! Crispy crust, soft center. :)
try going "sandwich" size... and check the temp on your oven that it's not too hot
I read somewhere that you can make bread flour by adding 1 tablespoon of wheat gluten for every cup of all-purpose flour.
jonnis3 years ago
Nice recipe. Made a double batch today, and the baguettes came out great. A little larger then i expected, but that is just a plus. They look a little pale in the picture, but they do have some color. I just didn't have any milk or eggs left to brush them with.

jamiec533 years ago
I made some and it was awesome! It's really good toasted. Thanks for the recipe!
jamiec533 years ago
:) That was a Cheap Trick
SoapyHollow (author)  jamiec533 years ago
Hee! :)
Do you bake with a cookie sheet thing or just on the grills?
SoapyHollow (author)  brooklynlord3 years ago
I use a heavy jellyroll type baking sheet, and preheat it at the same time that I preheat the oven.
mAlfunkti0n3 years ago
Made two baguettes last night using this instructable and they turned out great! I will probably never buy bread from the store again considering the taste and price of ingredients.

Thank you!
SoapyHollow (author)  mAlfunkti0n3 years ago
Yay! I just made a batch today, but I added the zest of two lemons, and about a teaspoon (guessing, I didn't measure) of cardamom. So amazing. Point being, the recipe is super adaptable, so go crazy adding stuff! (Just remember if you're adding wet stuff, like non-dried veggies or fruits, that you may need to increase your flour and your yeast a bit to compensate for the extra moisture.)

Glad the 'structable was useful for you!
serjinio4 years ago
Dear SoapyHollow, i am really new to cooking, i didnt use any oil in step3- resting ("butter/crisco/your fat of choice") , it was some hard ,if it possible please, add oil to intro ingredients part, thank you.
the oil was to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl, it had nothing to do with the texture. You probably overworked your dough or did not let it rise enough the last time just before baking.
serjinio4 years ago
Hi, thank you, its really good.
SoapyHollow (author)  serjinio4 years ago
Yay! I'm glad you liked it. (Also, how adorable is your icon baby? So cute!)
Sassy Cat4 years ago
I tried your bread and it came out beautiful. I think I could have let it raise a little longer, but my husband said it was the best bread I have ever made. I didn't have bread flour, but I added 1/4 C. gluten to my all purpose flour and it worked great. (Thank you, rattyrain, for the tip) I am excited to have this recipe because our favorite bread has been Albertsen's French Bread, but now I can make bread as good as theirs. Thank you for sharing.
SoapyHollow (author)  Sassy Cat4 years ago
Oh Yay! I'm so glad it worked for you. I love bread making now that I've discovered how easy it really is. :) Be careful with letting it rise too much, I've had breads fall on me when I let 'em go too long, and ended up with nan bread instead of french bread. Heh. :)
schneb4 years ago
I'm eager to try this. I've been making '5 min. artisan bread' for the last few months and worry I'll wear out my family's enjoyment of that by over-use. This will be a nice way to give some variety and you make it look 'doable'. 

so thanks!

Just an FYI--this instructable is featured at another site (they give a link that acknowledges the instructables source). I assume there's no copyright infringement, but whether there is or isn't, it's gotta count as a solid endorsement of some kind. 

Here's the link:
WastedOne4 years ago
Made this today. Very Nice! Now have Onion and potato soup cooking to have it with.
zaboss5 years ago
Thank you for this Instructable. I have never (atleast not for 50+ years) baked. Blew wifes mind to think that I do this. DELISH.. Thanks again. John
curecreator5 years ago
Are you sure its not in the room?
You can get a hard crusty outer layer by putting a pan of water on the bottom shelf when you put it in to bake. Steam is what is needed for the crispiness.
SoapyHollow (author)  shirley ujest5 years ago
I mentioned that in the baking part. :) I didn't spritz my oven for this batch because I'm in the last 3 weeks of my braces, and super crunchy bread is off my radar until the end of the month. :)
SoapyHollow (author) 5 years ago
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be evil breadlady, tempting you via the intertubes! ;)
Robotrix5 years ago
I don't mean to bombard you with comments, but i made this bread today (subbed in two oz. Rye flour) and it came out soooo well. i wanted to say thanks for the tip about not adding more flour - i have always done this and have always been disappointed in the rise i get. Today i didn't add more flour at all and i got a superb rise with a nice crumb. I made a huge sandwich and finished off the first loaf later in the day. Thanks again!
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