Hey, guys! Today we’re gonna make an easy French Baguette recipe. But before that, I’d like to quote something from the book ‘The science of cooking’:
‘There has never been any one way to make bread – ask a dozen bakers how they make their loaves, and you will get twelve different answers.’
This means that any recipe is just a guide. As you practice, you’ll find your own way of making bread.
We all love the Baguette that has a crispy outside and soft & bubbly inside. Therefore, it is our goal to make it happen today.
But. Because there are people who like making everything fast and people who take time, I have two recipes. One of them takes 4 hours to make, and another one takes 3 days to complete.
If you love making short and simple recipes, I highly recommend this cozy Pasta al Limone for your delicious dinner.
Now, I’m not gonna lie, the longer recipe is better because making bread is a fermentation process. The longer you let your bread dough rest, the more flavorful it gonna be.
But again, it’s your choice.
Today we’re gonna make the long recipe.
4 Easy French Baguette goals
- Crispy & golden outside
- Great oven spring
- Soft & bubbly inside
- A delicious baguette
Each ingredient purpose
Flour has two proteins: glutenin and gliadin. When we add water, those two proteins fuse to form gluten. It is another long and stretchy protein.
If we make well-formed & strong gluten, it traps gas bubbles and solidifies, consequently giving the French Baguette its structure and texture.
Reacting with water and flour, yeast converts the starch from flour into sugar. Yeast feeds itself on this sugar to create carbon dioxide and ethanol, therefore making the bread rise.
No water, no reaction. Or more accurately: no liquid, no action.
Water is the fuel that makes flour proteins to form gluten and yeast to create sugar, carbon dioxide, and ethanol. Also, salt couldn’t create such an impact if not the liquid in the dough.
I feel like I say too much of this in my posts, but I’m gonna repeat it. Salt enhances the flavor.
And no, not only that. It also strengthens gluten networks, which is crucially important and inhibits yeast from growing too fast, preventing ‘yeasty’ flavors.
What is important when making an easy French Baguette in 3 DAYS?
All the printable directions with measurements and shaping explanations you can find on the page down below, but here I want to explain some things about DAY 1 and DAY 2.
I know it looks like a long time, while actually, 90% of the time, the dough will ferment in the fridge. All you have to do is to come one day and make the first dough, knead the dough on the second day, and on the third day, shape and bake the French Baguettes.
If you check Pain au Chocolat, it also takes 3 days to make. But the flavor is more than delicious!
What we did there is called prefermented dough.
The dough itself has its limits. Therefore we need to use such creatures as prefermented doughs or starters.
Because of their longer fermentation period, they already have loads of flavor, which later is transferred into our Baguettes and other loaves of bread.
The point is here to develop loads of strong gluten. That gluten will trap the gas bubbles and solidify when baking. Your work will reflect in texture and structure.
If you have, use the food processor, the hook does the same work as your hands.
Now, in the beginning, the dough will be very soft and sticky but don’t add any flour cause it will make the dough heavier and tighter. As you work the dough, you’ll notice how it becomes more elastic and smooth.
That’s why I like working with my hands more than using a food processor cause I can feel when the dough is ready. Actually, the dough is gonna tell you when it’s ready.
If you take the dough and stretch it slowly from the middle as much as you can and it doesn’t break apart, it’s ready. You’ve formed enough gluten, and you can make a dough windowpane.
It takes time; that’s why I like watching a movie or just youtube when kneading the dough that long. It just helps with killing time.
Why do we need stages when shaping the easy French Baguette?
As we’ve figured out earlier, when making bread, we create lots of gluten. But when stretching the gluten, at some point, it begins to resist. It means we need to let it rest.
While resting, the water within the dough spread evenly throughout, and gluten fibers spring back to their natural length.
After relaxation, we can finish working with the bread.
You will notice how even 10 minutes are helpful when handling any kind of bread.
Why do we create steam in the oven?
At the beginning of baking, in the first 10 minutes, the bread is rising. We have to make sure that it doesn’t create a thick crust and can fully proof.
The full proof means a round Baguette and gorgeous oven spring.
Steam is the key to create this beauty. After those 10 minutes, we can remove the water and let the dry, hot air finish and golden the French Baguettes.
Easy French Baguette in 3 days
- 225g strong bread flour
- 4g salt
- 145ml water
- 2g dry instant yeast
- 250g strong bread flour
- 5g salt
- 150ml water
- 3g dry instant yeast
- When it becomes hard to combine with a wooden spoon, take everything from the bowl on a board and knead the dough with your hands until it comes roughly together.
That’s it! That’s day one. It should take you a maximum of 10 minutes. Easy, isn’t it?
Today is the day when we shape the easy French Baguette, prove, and bake.
- Take one of the balls, and make it in the shape of a small rectangle with your hands. Then take shorter edges and fold them in a way so that the edges meet in the middle. Now you have a square. Fold one edge of the square in the center, press it a little, and do it again. Rest the dough on a table for 15 minutes.
- Flour the surface and take one of the preshaped doughs. You will notice that the dough is relaxed and much easier to work with. So take the long edge, fold it in the center, press the edge a little, and do this folding 2 more times. Use your hands to roll the dough with a bit of pressure from the center to the edges, forming the Baguette shape.
- Fold the towel edges, so you make the fence for the Baguette. Leave it to prove for about .
- You’re gonna need 2 baking tins. In one of them, place the easy French Baguettes bottoms down , and in another one, pour some boiling water to make steam in the oven.
- Place both tins in the preheated oven with the boiling water below the Baguettes. Bake for 10 minutes, take the boiling water tin out of the oven, lower the temperature to 215°C, and bake for another 10 minutes till the French Baguettes are golden-brown with a nice crust.