French Baguettes

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 2 baguettes

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This recipe has appeared on the back of the King Arthur Flour bag — so if you cut it out and then lost it, this is the one you're looking for.

French Baguettes

star rating (25) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: 2 baguettes
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Starter

  • 1/2 cup cool water
  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough

  • All of the starter
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Directions

1) Mix the starter ingredients till smooth, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.

2) Next day, mix the starter with the remaining ingredients, kneading until the dough is nice and springy, but not totally smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and again after 2 hours.

3) Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a rough oval. Wait 15 minutes, then fold each oval lengthwise, sealing the edge, and use cupped fingers to gently roll each piece into a long (about 17") log. Place the loaves onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined pan, cover, and let them rise* till they're puffy but not doubled, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. VERY gently, use a sharp knife or razor blade to make three diagonal 1/3"-deep slashes in each loaf. Mist the loaves heavily with warm water. Bake the baguettes for 22 to 28 minutes, till they're golden brown. Take the baguettes off the pan and place them right on the oven rack. Turn off the oven, crack the door open about 2", and let the baguettes cool completely in the oven.

*For extra-crisp baguettes, cover the shaped loaves, let them rise for 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight. Next day, take them out of the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature, covered, for about 3 hours, or until they're nice and puffy. Then bake as directed above.

Reviews

1 23  All  
  • star rating 03/29/2015
  • Jean from Burlington, Vermont
  • starter worked ok. But the next day adding 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast it was way too dry to knead? So I used my dough hook in my kitchen aid and finally had to add almost another 1/2 cup of water to be able to knead it etc. By that time it was probably worked too much because when it was finally cooked it tasted wonderful but it was very dense and heavy.

    We're sorry that this one did not work for you. It sounds as if you'll need to add more water at the start or to measure the flour very carefully. Give the hotline a call at 1-855-371-2253 for some more help! Laurie@KAF

  • star rating 03/17/2015
  • mrmoran from KAF Community
  • This is the real deal -- nice hole-y crumb and thin, crispy crust. My favorite of the baguette recipes on the KAF site. Made three baguettes that were a little long for my baking stone; next time, will divide into four smaller (~13 inch) loaves. The folds seem to be the key to producing a nice, strong dough; don't be afraid if the dough seems wet -- just fold away! Definitely not a bread that can be rushed, but the hands-on time isn't significant.
  • star rating 01/26/2015
  • from
  • star rating 12/09/2014
  • Luyv'floot from KAF Community
  • I'm a bit confused with direction no.2. It was said that i have to rise the dough for 3 hours, then deflate the dough on the next 1 hour. So in the end, that statement suggest the reader to rise the dough for 4 hours, isn't it?

    Not exactly. So you are raising the dough for 3 hours total, but the instructions tell you that you need to fold it after each hours. So after mixing, your dough will rise for an hour, then you'll fold it, rise another hour, then another fold, then rise for a third hour and them continue on with the recipe. I hope that helps to clarify things, and if you have any more questions, please feel free to contact our Baker's Hotline at 1-855-371-2253. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  • star rating 08/10/2014
  • Ciao Bella from Seattle, WA
  • Not quite what as I expected. Crust was hard, loaves did not appear smooth like I've made in the past. I like the sweet yeasty taste of french baguette, which this was not. What went wrong?
    Hard to say, but we would be more than happy to chat with you to figure out what went wrong. 855 371 2253 Jon@KAF
  • star rating 06/06/2014
  • Kimberly Enciso from Oceanside
  • I have a question about this recipe. When it was done baking I tapped it and it was hard as a rock. I like crispy bread but I was afraid it would be unedibly hard so I brushed the loafs with butter before I let them cool all the way in the cracked oven. If I were to leave it (without butter) would the extreme hardness of the bread relax as it cools?
    Hi Kimberly, this is meant to be a crusty loaf, but it will definitely soften up over time, especially in the summer when it is more humid. Storing in a plastic bag will also soften up the crust. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 02/23/2014
  • fitzie63 from KAF Community
  • SOURDOUGH BREAD: takes time, a lot of patience and diligent following of the steps very carefully. The final rising time is often more than double than with yeast doughs. STARTER DOUGH: I did not use the recipe for this because a very good friend gave me some of his "naturally fermented" sourdough starter. His starter was not made from any yeast you can buy; it was made from naturally fermented wild grape skins. Yesterday morning, I made perfect, super-light 'n flavorful sourdough pancakes with it. These French Sourdough Baguettes came out absolutely PERFECT. The dough had 3 full proofings (rising). The final proofing took 2.5 hours before it was ready. The crust was crunchy and perfectly baked all around. The inside texture of the bread was fine-grained. TASTE: Almost just like the San Francisco Sourdough french bread we could buy when I lived in my ol' stomping grounds in the Bay Area (born and raised there but "escaped" in 1972 to the beautiful, peaceful Pacific Northwest). I highly recommend this recipe but you must follow the instructions "to the letter". If you're expecting great results in a faster time period, do not bake your own bread. Instead, go ahead and buy the commercially prepared stuff in the supermarket that has all the chemicals and other additives in it ;)
    Your experience is the perfect testament (and baked results) to "good things take time"! Happy Baking - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 10/14/2013
  • spud14901 from KAF Community
  • I followed the recipe to a "T." It came out great. I made Three loaves instead of two. I used the Baguette Pan that I purchased from the KA site. It was well worth the effort.
  • star rating 07/21/2013
  • mjsmith7 from KAF Community
  • It's everything I like about a great recipe: it's simple and it works! I use convection bake and the results are a beautifully brown crust with a deliciously chewy bread inside.
  • star rating 06/10/2013
  • figs63 from KAF Community
  • The crust was nice, browned, and crispy, but the crumb was a bit too dense for me! Following the "grams" measurements, I might have needed to add more water. However the taste was well developed and, on the whole, pleasurable. Although I would like a more open crumb I couldn't stop cutting myself slices of these baguettes. :)
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