If you have been keeping up with my posts the last few weeks, then you know that we have basically turned our kitchen into a full-on bread bakery. The third batch of artisan bread to be created in our kitchen is none other than classic, homemade no knead French baguettes. These baguettes are just what bread dreams are made of -- light, tender and airy crumb inside, and a crispy, crunchy crust outside.
Ingredients in Homemade Bread
To make almost any rustic homemade bread, you will need just 4 simple ingredients.
- flour - all-purpose flour
- yeast - instant yeast
- water - lukewarm
- salt - for flavour
You also need a baking tray to bake the bread in, and another baking pan to create steam in your oven.
How to Make No Knead French Baguettes
French baguettes are so so easy to prepare, taking only 10 minutes of actual active time. The rest of the time is just waiting time for the dough to rise. Here is a summary of the steps that you will need to take.
- Activate yeast: Dissolve instant yeast in lukewarm water in a cup, stir until mixed together.
- Prepare dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour yeast liquid mixture in and whisk to combine.
- Allow dough to rise: Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for 2 hours, until dough doubles in size. Stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes. After another hour, the dough will rise and build up enough gluten strength.
- Divide and shape the dough: Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each dough into a round ball. Let the dough rest for another 45 minutes. Then, shape the dough into oval shapes and then roll into logs. Place each dough on a well-floured surface and cover. Let rest for another 45 minutes.
- Bake bread: Transfer the dough onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Preheat oven to 450°F and add steam. Bake for 20 minutes.
Tips for the Baking the Perfect French Baguette
Follow the tips below to ensure that you get that perfect French baguette every single time.
- use unopened and unexpired yeast that was stored int a cool and dry area - make sure the instant yeast is in an original, unopened package, and that it has not expired (note that instant yeast has a relatively shorter shelf life).
- the yeast mixture should start to bubble - when mixing the yeast in lukewarm water, the mixture should start to bubble and develop a yeasty aroma.
- add steam to the oven - this is the key to getting the perfect crispy, crackly crust on french baguettes. You add steam to the oven by placing a baking pan with water on the bottom of the oven, and then preheating it.
- use a bench scraper - french baguette dough is very sticky with 75% hydration (flour to water ratio). So a bench scraper is very helpful to help handle and transfer the dough. You can also use flour if needed during transfer.
- fold and press when shaping the dough - there are many different techniques to use when shaping baguettes. The key is to fold and press to seal the edges so that air pockets get trapped inside the dough. This is why you see large air holes when you cut into baguettes.
- serve fresh out of the oven - French baguettes are best when they are fresh out of the oven. If you need to store them for longer periods of time, you can freeze them to extend their freshness.
How to Serve French Baguettes
French baguettes are the perfect bread to use when making bruschetta or crostini or when used for sandwiches. One of my favourite ways is in a lemongrass chicken banh mi sandwich. It is also delicious as toast with butter and homemade strawberry jam or for french toast.
This bread is best served fresh out of the oven. If you need to store for more than a day, you can easily store the baguettes in the freezer. Just slice them up first, and reheat in the toaster under the defrost setting.
More Homemade Bread Recipes
- Easy Small Batch Ciabatta Rolls
- Small Batch No Knead Bread
- Quick and Easy Pita Bread
- Sunflower Seed Bread
- Easy Homemade Everything Bagels
- Quick and Easy Skillet Dinner Rolls
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.