These homemade no knead French baguettes are just what bread dreams are made of -- light, tender and airy crumb inside, and a crispy, crunchy crust outside.
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 320 grams room temperature water
- 430 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In small cup, dissolve instant yeast in water and stir to mix together (the mixture should start to bubble and develop a yeasty aroma). Let it sit for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and whisk until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl (there should be no dry flour particles visible). The mixture is very sticky and wet, with an 75% hydration (flour to water ratio).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (Note that a higher room temperature will speed up the fermentation process and will cause the dough to rise faster). This is called first proofing or bulk fermentation.
- Apply some water onto your hands and stretch and fold the dough in the bowl by folding the edges into the centre. Wet hands make it easier to work with the dough. Cover with a dry cloth and let the dough rest. Repeat this stretch and fold step every 30 minutes (you will do it two more times).
- After 1 hour (3 hours total time so far), with 3 rounds of stretch and folds in total, the dough will build up gluten strength and become less sticky.
- Using a spatula, transfer dough to a floured surface. Sprinkle dough with flour for easier handling. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts (250 grams each). Shape each dough into a round ball by pulling the edges over to the centre. Cover with a dry cloth and let it rest for another 45 minutes.
- Gently press each dough to flatten into an oval shape. Fold the edge over, one inch at a time, and press the edge to seal the seam firmly. It takes 3 folds to seal the seams. Roll the dough into a log with the 2 ends slightly pointy. Repeat this step with remaining 2 dough balls.
- Place each piece on a well-floured work surface and separate them apart. Sprinkle some flour over the dough and cover with a dry cloth. Let rest for about 45 minutes. This is called the final proofing.
- Carefully transfer each piece onto a parchment-lined 8x12-inch baking tray. Because the dough is still quite sticky, dust with flour to help handle them.
- Fill a baking pan with water and place it in the bottom of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450 F, and allow it to fill with steam from the water. When the oven is ready, use a razor or sharp knife to make 3 incisions at about a 45° angle on each baguette. Slide the baking tray in and spray some water over the dough immediately. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Let them cool for 20 minutes. To check if the bread is done, you can tap the bottom of the bread with your finger. The bread will sound hollow when done.
After the first proofing (the initial rise), you can either complete the three sets of stretches and folds (steps 4 and 5 above), OR leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight for at least 8 hours to build up gluten strength naturally.
French baguettes are best served fresh out of the oven. If you need to store them for more than a day, you can easily store it in the freezer. Just slice is up first, and reheat in the toaster under the defrost setting.
Use a digital scale. For the most accurate measurements, I highly recommend investing in a digital scale.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes (+ 4.5 hours wait time)
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: french baguette, french bread, bread, how to make bread, baguettes