It is incredibly satisfying to make your own bread, there’s really nothing else like it… it’s not basic or elementary, it seems advanced somehow and therefore, more of an accomplishment. I don’t claim to be an artisan bread maker or even a classically trained Pastry Chef, I am a classically trained Chef who loves to bake. The baking I do is from my heart and I’ve been doing it since I was a toddler (literally).
Please don’t be intimidated by baking with yeast or making bread, it’s really not that difficult and following a few simple rules will lead you to success.
I’ve told the story before about my Grandma who taught me how to make bread in my recipe for soft dinner rolls. And I would argue that learning to bake bread from someone who loves you is the best way to go. So from my heart to yours, here’s my recipe for an Easy French Baguette, I hope you enjoy it!
This recipe is for a baguette that is light and fluffy on the inside and has a hard crusty exterior, it makes a great crostini for bruschettas or hummus or a great addition to a charcuterie board along with my Cheesy Herbed Flatbread
Artisan baguettes that you will get in a bakery can be a bit more dense and chewy and have a strong malty flavor, they are phenomenal and I can show you how to make those in another post but lets start at the beginning.
I am using a high protein flour called “00” flour (double zero) for this recipe, the protein in the flour along with a long kneading process creates the thick crust and a strong baguette. This flour is now widely available, go to any Italian market or Loblaw’s
- Salt kills yeast, don’t add salt directly to the yeast/water mixture
- Use new yeast or yeast that has been kept in the freezer. Old yeast may no longer be active
- Water should be luke warm not cold but no hotter than 110F
- Cover rising dough with a damp towel or loosely with plastic wrap to avoid building a crust which will prevent the dough from rising (proofing) fully
Easy French Baguette
500g Warm Water
7g Dry active yeast
8g Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
780g “00” Flour
20g Olive Oil
Measure out warm water and add yeast, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, it will start to foam if the yeast is still active.
In a bowl for a stand mixer, add “OO” flour, salt and oil, stir for a moment to distribute the salt.
Add the yeast/water mixture to the flour mixture and knead on first speed with a dough hook attachment. Increase speed to second speed and knead for 10 minutes longer. The dough should be tacky but not stick to your hands. If the dough is sticky, add small amounts of flour 1 tbsp at a time allowing them to be absorbed in between until you get a tacky dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Finish kneading by hand until you get a smooth ball, add 2-3 tbsp of oil to the bowl, roll the dough around in the oil to coat it and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours at room temperature.
Once proofed, remove dough from the bowl and divide into three equal pieces. Flatten out each piece and then roll them up into a snake, smoothing them out in a rolling motion. Just like playdough.
Prepare a pan with some DIY wells that will hold the baguettes in place and stop them from spreading too much. Simply fold some sheets of aluminum foil and place them length ways on the pan to create three wells. Cover the top with parchment paper and place the baguette in each well. Allow to proof covered with a towel until doubled in size, approx. 1 to 1.5 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F and place fully proofed baguettes into the oven until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. See Below to make crostini…
Preheat oven to 400F. Slice cooled baguette on an angle, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with melted 1:1 butter and olive oil. Bake until golden brown approx. 8-10 minutes.