Everyday French Baguette
How to make a good French baguette at home, using basic supermarket ingredients and the simplest technique.
For a standard baguette or a chunkier demi baguette (half a baguette)
- 250 grams white bread flour
- 175 grams water (see formula in the video for temperature)
- 5 grams of sea salt
- 3 grams of instant dry yeast
Cooking of the baguette: Temperature 255 degrees Celsius (about 490 degrees Fahrenheit) with steam. To create steam place a container with water at the bottom of your oven and let it heat up until lots of steam is released.
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes depending on how well cooked you want the bread to be.
Note about hydration level: the amount of water used for the flour is typically 70 percent of the flour weight. But keep in mind that certain types of flour, like a stoneground flour for instance, will absorb more water so you may have to use a bit more water than the standard measure for your dough (a ratio of 75 percent of the flour weight should do).
What makes a good Baguette?
- The quality of the ingredients
- Water (mineral or spring water yields best results)
- Salt (good quality natural salt or sea salt)
- Fresh bakers’ yeast / or industry grade dry yeast
The types of utensils, kneading machine and oven used.
- Use the right tools for the job
- Use a good bread kneading machine
- If possible, use a steam oven.
The technique used.
- Understanding kneading, resting and fermentation time.
- Having the correct dough temperature after kneading. This is calculated using what is called the base temperature reference. In French this is called the TB (Temperature de base).
Mastering the dough temperature.
- The base temperature is a value in degrees centigrade that is used to calculate the temperature which your water needs to be when making a bread dough for a baguette.
- This calculation allows you to get an ideal temperature after kneading which sits between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius ( between 73 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
TB Formula (to calculate temperature of water added to knead the dough).
- The Base Temperature number is 65 degrees Celsius.
- Take the room temperature.
- Take the temperature of the flour.
- Add the two together.
- Deduct the total of the two from 65.
- The resulting number is the temperature in degrees centigrade for the water.
- Place the flour in the bowl of a Kitchen Ai or nay other food processor with a dough hook.
- Dissolve the salt in the water and then ensure that the temperature of the water corresponds to the result obtained by using the TB formula.
- Add the water into the bowl with the flour.
- Using the dough hook of the stand mixer or kneading machine mix the flour and water on speed No 2 ( low speed) until all the water has been absorbed by the flour. It will take 2-3 minutes. If necessary, tap the sides of the bowl or use a rubber spatula to get all of the flour into the mix.
- Remove the hook (after scraping off all of the dough), cover the bowl with loose plastic or parchment (baking) paper and leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- Add the yeast, replace the hook and knead the dough for 8 minutes on No 2 and then accelerate the speed for toward the end for 1 minute then stop.
- Again remove the hook and scrape off all of the dough – the temperature should be between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius. (73 to 77 F)
- Sprinkle a clean bowl with flour and place the dough in and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a humid tea towel and leave to rest for 1 hour. The dough will rise a little.
- After an hour scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured bench, shape into a rough rectangle shape and fold each of the 4 edges towards the centre to make a sort of ball turn the dough around so you have the round shape facing up then place back into the floured bowl.
- Cover the bowl again and leave it to rest for 2 hours at room temperature and then place the bowl into the fridge to allow the dough to ferment overnight.
- The next day, remove the bowl from the fridge and allow it to stand at room temperature for one hour – sprinkle some flour over the top of the dough.
- Scrape the dough onto a floured bench – the dough must not stick to the surface.
- Remove the “gas” from the dough by forming it into a rectangle and pressing down on it a little bit
- Pre-shape the baguette by folding one half of the long side of the rectangle back onto the other half, fold back each of the four edges towards the centre (see video)to make a sort of long round shape bread roll.
- Place the pre shaped dough on a sheet of parchment (baking) paper and allow to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
- Pre-heat a non-fan-forced oven to 255 degrees C. If the oven has a steam function, use it. If not, place an oven proof dish or container on the bottom of the oven and just before baking, when that temperature is reached, add water to the dish. place your baking stone or metal baking sheet inside the oven during that time too.
- when rested Tip the dough onto a floured bench again and pat the dough into a rough rectangle of around 7cm by 15 cm (3 by 5 inches). with the longer side facing you , fold the top of the dough down about one third of the way toward the center pressing down with the heel of your hand. fold the bottom of the dough about one third of the way toward the center and seal seam firmly. once done (working from right to left) cup your hand over the log of dough and using your left thumb, tuck the seam inward while using the heel of your right hand to bring the top edge to meet the bottom edge.
- To stretch the log, place your hand together palms down, over the middle of the log. Using light pressure, roll the log back and forth as you spread your hands apart.
- place shape baguette on a heatproof baking paper of bakers canvas and leave to rest 30 minutes minimum (the longer the rest the better.)
- just before cooking the baguette, sprinkle flour on top of the baguette and score the upper side 3 times with a sharp knife at regular intervals . and up to 2 cm deep. (scoring across the bread axis rather than across works best)
- With the oven temperature at 255C (491F), and with the water poured into the oven proof dish, place the baguette on the heatproof baking paper, put on to (preferably) a baking stone or flat baking sheet in the oven. (If more than one baguette is being baked at the same time, remove the warmed baking stone or baking sheet from the oven and place the parchment (baking) paper on it and then put the baguettes on the paper) and return to the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes and cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.
how to make a French baguette video tutorial: