Baguette is my favourite bread to eat, probably because I love the crust part of bread and there is a lot of it in a baguette. I tried many baguettes in my life, also many in France, but for me my husband makes the best ones at home. Maybe I’m biased since there’s something to be said about how food tastes if somebody prepares it for you with love. He learned how to make baguettes from Patrick Ryan but adapted the recipe. Our baguettes are crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle and warm right out of the oven. It makes me so happy that we can have a wonderful baguette whenever we want in our home.
Sometimes we do a picnic on the grass of our garden. We eat baguettes with some fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, vegan cheese and vegan red wine. It would be even more wonderful to picnic in the middle of a lavender field but for now that bush of lavender growing by our house will have to do.
Warm baguettes are also great as an appetizer with some olive oil or olive oil infused with basil or chilli. When going out to a restaurant the part of the meal I’m looking forward to the most is often the warm bread basket with olive oil at the beginning..
In this recipe you’ll need to prepare the dough a day before you actually bake the baguettes. Patrick Ryan suggests three days of preparation but we don’t really see any difference in flavour in making it just one day ahead.
How to Make French Baguettes (V)
- 450 g strong white bread flour
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 13 g fresh yeast or 6.5 g dry yeast
- 320 ml water
- Start preparing the dough an evening before baking, so that it will rest in the refrigerator at least 8-12 hours.
- Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt and mix well.
- Crumble the yeast into the bowl then add water and start mixing with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated in the dough. Use your hands if needed but don't knead the dough too much. The whole process of preparing the dough should not take more than 5 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Next morning take the dough out of the refrigerator and leave it for an hour or so until it's warm enough to shape.
- Take the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out of the dough by folding it two to three times.
- Then shape the dough into a ball and cut it into three equal parts (for three baguettes). Then shape three equal dough balls.
- Take each dough ball and stretch it on either end, then fold these ends into the dough. You get a rough rectangle. Fold this rectangle into itself 3 times then seal the edge. You should end up with a cylinder shaped dough. (Please check the video link in the notes because it's much easier to just follow the video)
- Leave the dough cylinders to rest for 15 min.
- Take each cylinder, stretch it on both ends again and fold them into the dough. Then fold the dough cylinder into itself three times again (like before). Pinch the edge into the dough every time to seal it.
- Using both hands roll the the dough cylinder into a baguette. Try to get the length of the baguette the same as the length of your baking tray.
- Transfer all three baguettes into the baking tray lined with a couche cloth (if you don't have this, just use any cloth or towel that's big enough). Make sure the baguettes will only be able to prove up by stacking them next to each other and using part of the cloth as a divider between them.
- Lightly dust the the baguettes with flour and cover them with another cloth then prove them for 1 hour.
- When the baguettes are proving for 45 minutes it's time to preheat the oven to 240 °C. Put a dish with some water on the bottom of the oven to create steam while baking (if your oven doesn't have the bake with steam option).
- After 1 hour of proving score each baguette with a very sharp knife three times (long straight longitudinal cuts) then put them into the oven to bake.
- Bake for 25 minutes.