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French Baguette Authentic Recipe is Uncommonly Good

French Baguettes
Cooking Method
Difficulty Intermediate
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 30 mins Rest Time: 195 mins Total Time: 4 hrs
Servings 12

Adapted from Victor. (2020). How to Make French Baguettes.

Unlike Italian bread, baguette dough is hardly kneaded (just enough to mix the ingredients into dough). It is a "wet" dough, in other words "sticky' and is stretched and folded 3 times at 30 minute intervals. The secret to the baguettes' complex flavor and improved taste is slowing down the fermentation process ("cold proofing") in the refrigerator over a period of 12 to 20 hours.

  • 746 g Bread flour (About 6 cups)
  • 510 g Water (About 2 1/4 cups)
  • 2.5 tsp Sea salt (14.6 grams)
  • 3 tsp Instant dry yeast (8.5 grams)
  • 4.5 tsp Light brown sugar (19 grams)
  1. Proof yeast in warm water at about 105 oF (41 oC) in mixer bowl for 6-10 minutes or until bloom rises to surface.

  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (4 qt Pyrex) and add to the mixer bowl. Mix on low for about 2 minutes or until dough pulls away from the bowl sides.

  3. Transfer to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. For best results, room temperature should be around 68 to 72 oF (20 to 22oC).

  4. After the 15 minute rest, do 3 sets of stretch, fold and flip upside down after each set at 30 minute intervals.

  5. Divide into 3 equal parts [about 420 g each]. Place parchment paper (10” x 7.25”) folded along the long side at 3” and 7” (shaped as a “U” in the center of the rectangular 5-quart glass baking dish) and place the first dough ball in it. Place the other 2 dough balls on either side.

  6. Cover with air-tight lid, let rest for 60 minutes at room temperature then refrigerate for 14 to 22 hours.

  7. After cold proofing turn the three dough balls onto a lightly-floured work surface and shape into elongated ovals. Cover and let rest for 60 minutes at room temperature.

  8. Stretch each elongated dough oval slightly and fold into a cylinder, sealing the first 2 of 3 seams using your thumb. Pinch the final seam along its length using thumb and forefinger. As much as possible, avoid degassing the dough. Using your hands, roll the cylinders to gently stretch them to about 15 inches.

  9. Start preheating the oven to 500 oF (260 oC), with a baking stone positioned in the upper half the oven and a bread pan filled with hot water on the bottom rack.

  10. Place shaped loaves on a lightly-floured baker’s couche, seam side up. Cover and proof at room temperature for about 60 minutes, or until the dough has sufficiently proofed (dough does not spring back readily when poked).

  11. Transfer the loaves to parchment paper covering a baker's peel, seam side down and dust off excess flour, if any. Using a bread lame (or razor) make 3 scores on each loaf. When scoring, use a swift and firm motion to ensure nice and clean cuts.

  12. Open the oven, taking caution not to get scalded by steam, and slide the loaves onto the baking stone. Close the oven and reduce temperature to 475 oF (246 oC). Bake for 15 minutes.

  13. Remove the water pan , rotate the baguettes, and drop the temperature to 450 oF (232 oC).  Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until deep golden brown.

  14. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for one hour before serving.


For consistent results, always weigh flour on a kitchen scale since density may vary.

After final proofing, check that the dough is ready for baking by gently poking with your finger. If the dough springs back very slowly, it is sufficiently proofed and ready for baking.

Note that the baguettes are not fully risen after final proofing. The "wet" dough and hot oven and steam completes the rising and volume.

Keywords: French baguettes, baguettes, baguette, French baguette
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