Baguettes; an iconic French bread best known for romantic dinners paired with wine and cheese.
When you try to recreate this classic experience, you may find store-bought doesn’t taste nearly as fine as the movies make them out to be.
Not to mention they err on the pricey side, especially if you seek them warm from the bakery.
However, if you want to bring that fresh-from-the-oven taste home with you – without the financial splurge – you’ll be happy to know it’s not difficult to make a baguette!
They can be made easily, cheaply, and nothing beats a home-made loaf dipped in ricotta cheese or honey.
Here we lay out two tasty recipes – by hand or with a bread machine – so you can enjoy a hot baguette to go with any meal.
How To Make Baguettes By Hand
- Two envelopes of active dry yeast (1 ½ tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 3-4 ½ cups of flour (add in another cup for dusting)
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Oil or a nonstick spray for greasing the pan
- Cornmeal for dusting down the pan
- 3-4 ice cubes (optional)
Baguette Method By Hand
- Combine the honey, yeast, and ½ cup of warm water. Stir them together, then let it stand for five minutes while the yeast activates and begins to foam.
- Stir the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl, and then slowly add in your yeast mixture. After this, follow with one cup of warm water, adding it in gradually while mixing until your dough comes together in a ball. Place your dough on a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic; this will take you between 3-6 minutes.
- Roll your dough into a ball, place in a bowl that has been lightly oiled, cover it, and rest it in a warm environment for 30 minutes. After this time has passed, it will have doubled in size.
- Push the dough down and divide in half. To shape like a baguette, first make a flat rectangle, fold the top and bottom towards the middle (think like an envelope), and seal with your fingers. Keep repeating, stretching out your dough-rectangle lengthwise until it’s about 12 to 14 inches long and two inches wide.
- Fold and seal both ends.
- Flip your dough so that the seams are lying down, and place on a sheet pan that has been dusted with cornmeal.
- Take a knife and score the top of the loaf, creating diagonal slits. Then cover with a dishcloth and leave in a warm environment to rise (at max, about 25 minutes).
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your bread in the oven and bake for about fifteen minutes until golden brown.
- Remove and serve!
Here’s a video showing how to shape a baguette.
If you like your baguettes a little crunchier, then:
- Rearrange the racks in your oven, so that one is in the middle and the other on the bottom.
- Place an oven-safe pan or bowl (not glass, mind you!) on the bottom rack.
- When placing your loaves in the oven on the middle rack, quickly add the ice cubes below it in the bowl. The ice should turn to steam inside your oven, giving your baguettes that admirable crispy crust.
How To Make a Baguette By Bread Machine
The beauty of a bread machine is ease of use. Sometimes you come home after a long day and simply lack the energy to bake.
Or, let’s face it, baking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! So take advantage of good ol’ technology and let it do the heavy lifting – your job is to enjoy the final result!
This recipe will have you up to your ears in baguettes in no time.
- 1 cup of water
- 2 ½ cups of bread flour
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons of bread machine yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of water
Baguette Method by Bread Machine
- Place the (1 cup) water, bread flour, sugar, machine yeast, and salt in the bread machine pan as per the manufacturing instructions. Set the dough cycle suggested by the instruction manual and then start.
- Once the dough has been made, follow steps 3-7 listed in the handmade baguette recipe above.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the egg yolk with the (1 tablespoon) water and brush it over the loaves.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
There you have it!
Keep in mind, baguettes can also be a meal themselves, so get experimental with a fantastic grilled cheese or dipping them into olive oil and balsamic vinegar (for that little bit of Europe).
If you’re looking for a slightly softer baguette, it’s worth considering ‘batard bread’ as a great tasty alternative.
Tell us how yours turned out!
Do you have your own method of how to make baguettes by hand? What about your own method of how to make a baguette with a bread machine?