Classic Baguettes and Stuffed Baguettes

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KAF guaranteed, dairy free
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 3 baguettes

Recipe photo

These crunchy baguettes feature a chewy interior riddled with holes, and a crisp, deep-gold crust. While it's a challenge to make "real" baguettes at home, this version is probably as close to an artisan bakery version as you're going to find. And hey, all you vegans out there: this is probably my favorite vegan recipe. It's beautiful in the utter simplicity of its ingredients.

Our guarantee: These baguettes, right out of the oven, will have a crunchy crust; later, the crust will become chewy. They'll be a deep golden brown, about 16" long, and 1 3/4" to 2 1/2" in diameter.

Classic Baguettes and Stuffed Baguettes

star rating (239) rate this recipe »
KAF guaranteed, dairy free
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: 3 baguettes
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Starter

Dough

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
  • all of the starter
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • *Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

Tips from our bakers

  • The ingredients in baguettes are pure simplicity: flour, water, salt, and yeast. It's the baker's technique that turns an average baguette into an all-star. The more you practice your baguette-baking techniques, the better the baguette you'll make. Don't expect perfection the first time out!
  • Why the small amount of yeast and the extra-long rise? Because as yeast grows, it releases organic acids and alcohol, both of which are flavor carriers. The extra-long rise will give your baguettes outstanding flavor.

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

1) Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water (no need to do this if you're using instant yeast), then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly. If it hasn't, your yeast may not be working. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of yeast in 1 tablespoon lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar, and wait 15 minutes. If nothing happens, replace your yeast, and begin the starter process again.

2) If you're using active dry yeast, mix it with the water, then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. If you're using instant yeast, there's no need to combine it with the water first. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces.

5) Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

6) Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again.

7) With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down into the wells of a baguette pan; or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.*

8) Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.

9) Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F; if you're using a baking stone, place it on the lowest rack.

10) Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

11) Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

Yield: Three 16" baguettes.

*Advanced baker version: Place the shaped baguettes, seam-side down, in the folds of a heavily floured cotton dish towel. Allow them to rise as directed. When fully risen, gently roll them onto a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet, floured side down. Bake as directed. Or roll them onto a baker's peel, and then onto a heated pizza stone in the oven. Bake as directed above.

Variation: Make six stuffed sandwiches, perfect for picnics or lunchboxes.

Stuffed Baguettes
1) Divide the baguette dough into six pieces instead of three, and shape each into a 5"-long rectangle.

2) Layer with your favorite filling; we like mustard, ham, and Swiss cheese. Don't use too much filling, as it'll make the baguettes soggy. Also, use a dry filling (e.g., sliced deli meat, cheese) rather than something wet like meatballs in sauce.

3) Roll up like a jelly roll, sealing the long seam and pinching the ends closed.

4) Place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

5) Slash each baguette twice lengthwise, if desired. The cheese will ooze out. Some people like this look; some don't. Your choice.

6) Bake until golden brown, as directed above. You may need shorten the baking time a bit from the original recipe.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: one slice Servings Per Batch: 12 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50 Calories from Fat: 0 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 95mg Total Carbohydrate: 11g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 0g Protein: 2g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.

Reviews

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  • star rating 04/25/2015
  • Menzrob from KAF Community
  • Made these for a party my family had a couplr of weeks ago. They turned out so well, I've been requested to make them again for a party our children are having tonight. Obviously good enough to serve to guests! :-) Easy enough to make me willing to make anytime, too.
  • star rating 03/23/2015
  • M Whidlen from Annapolis,MD.
  • this takes my french bread baking to a whole new level. while i do not fully understand the science behind the starter phase, I will use this technique from now on. the starter seems to be very forgiving as i forgot and left it to ferment for twice as long. my greatest "take away" from this recipe is the amount of warm water to spritz upon loaves as they are placed in the oven. Spray loaves generously with warm water prior to placement in the oven. the lower oven temp and length of baking time is much better for my circumstances. I love the louder crisp sound. use this recipe and technique!!!
    We are so pleased you are enjoying this recipe! The reason for doing a pre-ferment is three-fold. 1)gives the development of organic acids a jump start 2) has a strengthening effect on the dough structure 3)begins the production of CO2 Happy baking! Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 03/21/2015
  • Keith from MA
  • Great bread!
  • star rating 03/03/2015
  • Marshall from Mt Juliet, TN
  • While I used KA unbleached BREAD flour vs. All Purpose, and used Active Dry vs. Instant yeast, and used Kosher salt, the results were excellent. Next I'm testing whether the dough works as well either saved and refrigerated, or frozen. And, I plan to test different "washes": egg white, whole egg, and yolk and water. Pretty close to what I get in France. KA sells a French high-ash flour, but it's $10/3 lb plus shipping.
    Thanks for reporting your excellent results with this recipe using bread flour, active dry yeast and kosher salt. Happy Baking - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 03/02/2015
  • Marshall from Mt Juliet, TN
  • While I used King Arthur unbleached Bread flour vs. All Purpose, and used Active Dry vs. Instant yeast, and used Kosher salt, the results were excellent. Next I'm testing whether the dough works as well either saved and refrigerated, or frozen. And I plan to test different "washes": egg white, whole egg, and yolk and water. Pretty close to what I get in France. KA sells a French high-ash flour, but it's $10/3 lb plus shipping.
    Marshall, we are happy to hear you were able to tweak this recipe based on the ingredients you had on hand and still have something that rivaled classic Parisienne baguettes. If you are using kosher salt, try using between 2 and 2 1/2 teaspoons if you are measuring by volume (the larger flakes allow you to get fewer grains per teaspoon and you don't want to lose the added flavor of the salt). While the French flour is a wonderful flour, we have actually had the best results using all purpose flour for baguettes--it is strong enough to create a crispy gluten structure but still allows large, uneven holes to form within the open crumb. We look forward to hearing the results of your washes to see what you liked the best. Happy baguette baking! --Kye@KAF
  • star rating 02/20/2015
  • Rachel from New york
  • I loved the bread, the taste was perfect and texture perfectly crispy The best bread I've baked so far!
  • star rating 02/18/2015
  • from
  • star rating 02/16/2015
  • Ted from Binghamton, NY
  • Still a somewhat beginner or at least tried many times to make bread with varying success. This is the best bread I have ever made!
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