A complete tutorial for making amazingly simple French baguettes - in a food processor or by hand. Be prepared to share it, though, so you don't eat it all. Find other great breads on the Best Bread Recipes page!
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Next to Easy Artisan Bread, this recipe for simple French baguettes is my favorite homemade bread to make - and I think it just may be for you, too.
Why? Let me count a few ways for you:
- It's mixed and kneaded in a food processor, although, like anything, it can be made by hand, too. With the processor, though, it takes just 1 minute to knead. You've got to love any bread that requires only one minute of kneading.
- Like our artisan bread, most of the preparation time is spent waiting for the rise.
- This can be made in the morning, left to rise all day in the fridge, and then shaped for the second rise a couple hours before you want to eat in order to have freshly baked bread for dinner. Love.
- It is delicious, pure bread made with only 3 ingredients, plus water.
In fact this bread is so good, the very first time I made it our family dubbed it "the bread you can't stop eating" because the four of us ate almost both loaves in one sitting!
However, I only make this bread occasionally for company or times I'd like smaller bread slices for appetizers like Cheesy Chicken Artichoke Dip because we found that the flavor suffered when I used whole wheat flour.
This was pretty curious to me, as I usually can never tell a flavor difference when I bake with whole wheat, but it was unanimous.
I want to make the majority of our breads with whole wheat, but this is SO good with unbleached flour it falls into the 20% of our 80-20 healthy eating goals. Life is too short to never have a bread like this again since it has all the other things going for it!
Of course, you don't have to make it with unbleached wheat flour - you can try it with a combo of whole wheat and unbleached or even full whole wheat bread flour. The texture won't be as light and the flavor will be different, but it's still good bread!
Simple Homemade French Baguettes Tutorial
Simple steps to homemade French baguettes:
Step 1: Add the flour to the bowl of the processor (or a medium sized bowl if making by hand). I have a 7-cup food processor, which is perfect for this recipe.
Step 2: Add salt and instant yeast- not plain active dry. I think it's also called fast acting or rapid rise, but it's the type that you don't need to dissolve in water first and can be added directly to the dry ingredients.
Pulse the dry ingredients together to mix.
Step 3: Pour in warm water. Use the warmest water from your tap- don't try to boil or microwave the water to warm, because it usually gets too hot which will kill the yeast.
Mix by pulsing the processor (or using a wooden spoon if making by hand) until all is combined and then running it for a minute until a ball forms. This food processor "kneading" is completely done in about a minute (love it!), but you can also knead it by hand for 10 minutes on a slightly floured surface.
It should still be sticky/tacky like this (wet doughs make airier French baguettes):
Step 4: Pull the dough out of the processor onto a lightly floured surface. While the dough sticks to the bowl, it should not be sticking too much to your fingers.
Tip: this is always the way bread dough should act, by the way- if it rolls out of a bowl without any tackiness at all, that's a sign that too much flour has been added and the bread will be heavy.
Knead the dough a few times to shape into a round ball.
Step 5: Place the dough in a bowl greased with a bit of olive oil, cover and let rise an hour until doubled.
Make-Ahead Tip: At this point you could also place the dough in the refrigerator instead and let it rise slowly until about two hours before you want to serve it, which is great if you're going to be gone most of the day or you'd like to prepare in advance for guests.
The bottom photo above is what the dough should look like after the first rise. Punch it down (my kids always loved this part!) and let it rest while preparing your surface for shaping.
Step 6: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half.
Tip: I use a dish towel dusted with a bit of flour for all my breads to minimize clean-up and to use the least amount of flour.
Using a rolling pin or your hands, press each half into a long rectangle (between 10-12" long and 5-7" wide) and then roll up, pinching the end to seal.
Step 7: Place seam side down on a lightly oiled, parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.
I use black pan liners for better browning than lighter color silicone liners (I can't find the liners pictured anymore - I've bought this large grill liner and cut it to fit my pans as a substitute when I needed more).
If you like cornmeal on the bottom of your bread, dust with a bit of that before placing the loaves on the sheet- I prefer mine without. You can see that they look pretty thin now, but they will rise nicely.
Cover with a towel (since I roll out the dough on a towel, I simply use that to cover them), and leave to rise for an hour.
Step 8: Start preheating the oven to 450 degrees 15 minutes before the rise is complete.
Slash the tops if you'd like (it's not necessary since these don't rise a lot more while baking but I like the look). Lightly brush the tops with water before putting them in the oven to help the crust get that crispiness we love in a good baguette.
Step 9: Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is firm and golden brown, turning as needed for even browning.
Let cool on a rack 10-15 minutes before cutting.
If you can wait that long.
See? I wasn't kidding about the simple. Make these French baguettes. Please.
Want to make a bigger batch?
This recipe makes two smaller French baguettes, which is why if fits in my 7-cup food processor.
If you’d like to make more, but still use a processor make one batch, start it rising, and then make another (no need to wash the processor- it’s all bread).
If you have a larger food processor, you may be able to double the recipe.
Simple French Baguettes Recipe (The Bread You Can't Stop Eating)
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast (NOT active dry)
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cup warm water
- olive oil
- In a food processor (or mixing bowl), combine the flour, instant yeast, and the salt. Pulse to mix.
- Add the water and pulse a few times to mix before running the machine for a full minute to knead the bread (it should form a slightly sticky ball). Pull the dough out of the processor onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to form into a ball (if making by hand, mix until combined, turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes).
- Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled, about one hour (see note for refrigerated make ahead option).
- Punch the dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough and roll each half into a long rectangle (between 10-12" long and 5-7" wide); roll up and pinch seam to seal.
- Place seam side down on a lined or greased baking sheet (dusted with cornmeal if you like), cover with a towel, and let rise another hour to double the volume.
- Fifteen minutes before the second rise is complete, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Slash loaves if desired and lightly brush them with water before placing in the heated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is firm and the loaves are golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack about 10-15 minutes before serving warm.
Other Easy Bread Recipes to Try
Easy Artisan Bread in an Enamel Pot
Soft 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
This recipe was originally published in 2011 and has been updated with all new photos, formatting, and printable recipe. Enjoy!
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I have a quick question- when I usually buy a baguette, it goes stale pretty quickly...I've been using the Bee's Wrap and it lasts a day only...how does this last in either a plastic baggie or some other wrap? We won't eat two whole baguettes in one day. Thanks! I want to make this on Monday!
I'm a stickler for freshness, Michele (for all baked goods) and I freeze what we don't need right after cooling. I just slice it and portion it into baggies (usually 1/2 loaf for the three of us now). When toasted or heated in the oven in foil it comes out fresh tasting.:)
I just made your simple french baguettes for dinner last night and it was amazing, thanks for the great recipe.
So happy to hear this, Carol! This was one of my early blogging recipes that I felt needed to get in front of people again since it's so easy and yummy, so I'm really glad you tried it.
The bread looks delicious, but I was wondering what type of kitchen towels you use? Completely off subject, I know, but I'm always on the hunt for a good kitchen towel -- especially one that dries dishes well!
I totally understand, Rachel. 🙂 For rolling out purposes, I just use basic cotton flour-sack type towels. The yellow shown is like that (you know, they are thin and really big?). But the best towels I've had in a long time come from Grove Collaborative - they are amazingly thick and come in farmhouse stripes. I just tried to find where I wrote about them, and I see that I haven't shared them on a Three Things article yet, so I better get to that. 🙂 Here's a referral link if you want to check them out - you'll get a $10 credit and I will too, if you buy: https://www.grove.co/referrer/36406/ I love mine so much I gave them to my mom and aunt for Christmas. 🙂
Hi there, great recipe....i use my bread machine to make this dough. works great.
One can easily control the prep work with the machine. Try it, let us know what your experience is.
Been making the bread in little loaf style. Easy to freeze and bake when the crave sets in.
Good to know, Sel - I don't have a bread machine, so I'll take your word for it. 😉
Can whole wheat flour be used?
You can use part whole wheat, Cristin, but it doesn't turn out the same in our opinion. This is the one bread I leave white flour - but of course try it and see if your family likes it with whole wheat. 🙂
Hi Jami -
Can I use a mixer with a dough hook for this recipe?
Thank you for all your help!
I'm sure you can, Erin, though the kneading time would be longer (5-6 minutes, I'd guess). The FP just makes it a bit quicker. 🙂
Thanks for sharing the recipe, I've tried it myself and loved the results but I would like to know if I could bake the bread within the day of making the dough?
I'm not sure what you're asking, Linnet - could you clarify? I always bake this bread the same day - either right away or after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. Do you mean you want to leave it in the fridge?
You gave me the answer I was looking for.. I did want to bake it right away..thanks!
Hi Jamie, would like to try your bread however, I just wanted to know if you used your dough blade or your regular blade in the food processor?
Thanks in advance,
I don't have a dough blade, I just use the regular blade that comes with it, Rose. Hope you like it as much as we do!
Just made this yesterday along with your granola and it was outstanding. Now waiting on your chewy granola bars in the fridge. Thank you for these wonderful resources!!
Hi, love this easy recipe! I tried it but somehow my dough never seemed to poof up or get bigger. Is there any tips or some way I've done wrongly? Let me know?
I read your post, Priscilla, and I think you're right that if you made only two they would've risen better. Either that or your yeast was old. 🙂
These look wonderful! I've always wanted to make a baguette... maybe 2012 will be the year! Thanks for linking this up to the best bread recipes of 2011.
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
Rose- Well, I'm glad after all that that the bread turned out for you!
To be honest I don't have many problems with instant yeast, per se. Meaning, since I don't proof it, I don't see it. 😉 What I do get sometimes is bread that doesn't rise like it should, though it's always edible bread. From the same batch of yeast, like you. Wish I knew the reason- it does seem rather random, though I suppose I must be doing something wrong. 🙂
You posted this on the right day for me because I tried your recipe yesterday and the bread was wonderful! I do have to say that I always use active dry yeast vs. instant yeast and proof it for the very reason that happened to me yesterday. Have you ever had your instant yeast not rise?
I proofed my yeast but it didn't proof. My hands were cold so I thought that maybe I had misjudged the water temperature. So I proofed a new batch. Nothing. I got another jar of yeast and added a bit of sugar for the yeast to feed on. Nada. Becoming frustrated, I decided to take the temperature of the water, add sugar, and set it on our woodstove where it was definitely warm, and tada! I had active yeast. So, I am not sure why every now and then I have some mysterious force preventing my yeast from working, but I always seem to get it to work in the end. And this batch that worked was from my first jar of yeast, not the second jar that I had opened. I make enough bread and pizza dough on a regular basis that my yeast should not go bad, but if anyone can shed some light for my as to why yeast is so finicky at times, please let me know.
The other thing I usually do is spray water into the oven right before I put the bread in and I brushed mine with water like you said and it turned out great. Thanks for sharing, Jami.
I'm glad I noticed this comment because this is initially why I landed in this site. I was searching how to make bread in Oregon (moved here not too long ago and my bread recipes were not rising). For all the bread I make now, I first put yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and for every 1 TB of yeast I add 1 tsp of sugar and let sit for about 5 minutes. It has never failed me!
Great tip, Esther - thanks from me, too!
Heather at Dusty Bay says
Thanks for the recipe, your bread looks very tasty!
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
Whoo-hoo, Janet Marie-nothing like taking the bull by the horns, huh? 🙂
Shirley- I've never used a bread machine, so I'm not sure how easy it is to make a regular recipe transfer. Let us know if you try!
Cathy- Yeah- another Oregon blogger! So glad your going to try it- you won't be sorry. 😉
Hi Jamie - It's so nice to meet another Oregon blogger. I don't bake bread often enough and appreciate your step by step instructions. You've inspired me to give it a try. What could be better with a big bowl of soup on a wintery day?
This looks so delicious!! I wonder, can it be made in a bread machine? I can never get my bread to rise on its own.
I'm bookmarking this recipe for sure. This bread looks amazing!
Yummmy! This looks like something I couldn't quit eating either!
Janet Marie says
I just mixed this up and set it to rise. 🙂 Great post. Have a great weekend!