Learn how to make your own homemade French Baguette recipes with this baking tutorial and video to help shape the baguettes. Making your own homemade french baguettes is totally doable! And totally worth it!
Now if you know me you know I love to travel. Like really travel. In the last few years I’ve been to Europe now a handful of times. I can’t get enough. The culture. The architecture. And of course the foooooooooood. Oh my word the food.
Last year I was lucky enough to travel to Paris. (You see where this is going right?). While I was there I think I ate my weight in pastries and breads. I mean it’s Paris people. In fact, I walked into a French bakery and bought a whole baguette. And then proceeded to walk around Paris for the next two days just eating my baguette. Piece by piece. Can a person survive on just bread? Well I apparently did.
So you know it was only a matter of time before I attempted making French baguettes at home with this recipe from King Arthur Flour. So when a blizzard hit awhile back, I took the opportunity to make my very own French baguettes. I mean I couldn’t leave my house. So why not bake some bread, right?
Now if baking bread intimidates you. I get it. It involves yeast. A living thing. Sounds scary right? Then there is the whole proofing and rising and shaping. Oh my! I promise you by the end of this post you will have the confidence to tackle this bread in your own home.
So let’s get started….
How To Make Homemade French Baguettes
This recipe starts with what is called a poolish, or basically a yeast starter that you will prepare the night before. Basically you mix your yeast, part of your flour with a bit of water. Easy peasy. Dust off your jeans and walk away.
If you’re new to baking with yeast then check out my Yeast 101 post and be sure to download my Baking with Yeast Cheatsheet.
Then the next day, you will combine the rest of your ingredients with the poolish starter. You can do this in your stand mixer with your dough hook attachment, by hand or in a bread machine. My preference is with my stand mixer, because it makes quick work of otherwise a tiring arm workout!
After kneading, you need to allow the dough to rest which is called the fermentation phase. The dough will rest for about 90 minutes at a warm room temperature. After the first 45 minutes, you want to deflate the dough and flip it over. This helps to expose new yeast to the surface to help with the rising.
How To Shape Your Baguettes
Once the dough has risen, now it’s time to shape the dough. This can be the most difficult step, so I made a video on how to shape your baguettes. The baguettes are going to go through two rises, and two shapes.
The first shape is taking the dough and shaping each portion of dough into a round ball. Then after the first rise, the dough will get shaped into the true baguette shape of a long piece of dough with tapered ends.
I figured the best way for you to see how this is done, is in video form! So watch the video below, to see how to shape your baguettes.
How To Get That Crusty Exterior
Now to be a true baguette it needs that crusty exterior if you ask me. And the only way to get that is to create steam inside your oven. And the secret? Using your cast iron.
While the bread is going through its final rise, near the end, go ahead and pre-heat your oven and place a cast iron either on the floor of your oven or on a bottom rack. You will fill this with hot water after you place the bread in the oven to bake to help create steam. The steam will help to create that beautiful exterior on the bread we all love.
After the baguettes have been shaped, it’s time to give them a good slashing. The best way to get this done is to use a bread lame. A bread lame is special tool used to cut slashes into the top of the bread which allows steam to escape as the bread bakes in the oven.
You can use a really sharp knife. I mean really, really sharp. Honestly, I didn’t think I need one of these handy dandy bread slashing tools but it’s made a world of difference! I can’t recommend one enough if you’re into making bread at home.
Then it’s time to bake! You want to bake these on a cookie sheet or a baking stone. Be sure to also add the water to the cast iron pan, and then shut the oven door quickly. You want to bake these until an internal temperature reaches about 190°F.
And in about 20 minutes, you will have beautiful homemade french baguettes. And just like my few short days in Paris, I lived off these homemade french baguettes that I made.
Not a bad way to spend your time during a blizzard right?
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
For the (starter) poolish
For the dough
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
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