This fail-proof French baguette recipe uses simple kitchen ingredients and bakes up to a delightful loaf that is soft and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside.
Have you been wanting to bake bread and are intimidated by the process?
It’s easy to feel like bread baking takes a ton of skill, but what it really takes is a bit of time and a great recipe.
This French bread recipe is easy and will give you two beautiful loaves of bread that will be perfect for any meal.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ease– This recipe is simple, uses basic ingredients, and is great for beginners.
- Time– These French baguettes require less than 2 hours of rise time.
- Texture– You will get 2 loaves of French bread that are soft and fluffy on the inside with a nice crusty crumb on the outside.
- Taste– Deliciously yeasty and delightfully cozy, this bread tastes like it smells!
Ingredients for French Baguettes
- All-purpose flour– Flour is the main ingredient and the bulk of the recipe.
- Active Dry Yeast– Yeast is what causes the dough to rise and gives it the light, fluffy, and chewy interior.
- Sugar– Sugar feeds the yeast and helps the bread to ferment more quickly.
- Salt– Kosher salt or table salt flavors the bread and brings out the other flavors in the recipe.
- Water– Water activates the yeast and holds the ingredients to create a dough ball.
How to Make French Bread in 3 Easy Steps
- Make the Dough– Make your bread dough and let it rise for 1 hour.
- Form your Loaves– Divide the dough into two balls. Roll the dough out like cinnamon rolls on a lightly floured work surface. Place on baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
- Bake– Bake your loaves for 25 minutes, take it out of the hot oven, and enjoy.
Substitutions for Crusty French Bread
Bread Flour– Bread flour has a higher protein content and tends to cause a higher rise. However, it is not necessary for these homemade baguettes.
Tips for the Best Crusty French Bread
- You can make 2 larger loaves or 3 smaller loaves. If you would like smaller baguettes, you will need to adjust the baking time and reduce it so they don’t overbake.
- Make sure that your yeast is not expired, otherwise, it will take longer to rise or not rise at all.
- Make sure that the water is warm to the touch and not scalding or too cold.
- Place the bread in the center of the oven so that it bakes evenly.
- You can use a baguette pan to get more even cooking, however, you don’t need one. You can use a parchment paper lined baking sheet as well.
- Try not to overproof the baguette dough. It can collapse on you and create a flat loaf of bread.
- If you have a sticky dough, next time try using less water in the recipe.
- If your kitchen is cold, the dough may be slower to rise. For best results, try placing the dough in a warm place. If your home is warm, you will notice a quicker rise.
- To see if the dough is ready to bake, stretch the edges of the dough, and if it looks shiny and thin, it is ready.
- While the bread is rising, place a pan of water in your oven while it preheats. This creates steam in the oven which creates a crustier bread.
- When you cut the bread after baking, cut it diagonally so that it has a greater surface area to put your butter on!
- Make sure you keep the oven door closed while the bread is baking, for the perfect crackly crust!
- Make sure you score the top of the dough with deep diagonal slashes before you bake it. This allows the bread to expand while it bakes without distorting the baguette shape of the loaf.
How to Store Your Good Crusty French Baguette Loaf
If you have any leftover bread (which you probably won’t because it’s so delicious), cover it with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature on the kitchen counter.
How to Reheat This Good Baguette
You can reheat the bread in the oven for 5-10 minutes if you would like the crust needs to be crunchier.
Sometimes the crust gets softer while it is wrapped in plastic wrap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Once it is cooled, slice it diagonally and then place the pieces in a ziplock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Then you can just take out the number of slices you need for the meal and save the rest in the freezer for later. You can also freeze it whole.
The egg wash helps to make a golden brown and shiny crust!
Because of excess moisture. It helps to preheat the baking sheet, baguette pan, or baking stone before baking the bread.
French Baguette Recipe
Crusty French Baguette
- 1 stand mixer
- 1 baking sheet
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1¾ cups warm water
- 1 large egg white for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- In the stand of your electric mixer, or a large mixing bowl, add in your sugar and yeast. Pour over it the warm water. Make sure the water feels warm to the touch, but not scalding. Allow the yeast to wake up for about 5 minutes. You want it to be foamy.
- To the yeast, add your salt and flour. Knead the dough until all ingredients are combined and it forms a soft dough ball.
- Allow the bread to rise in a warm place, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour. It should double in size.
- Lightly flour your surface and turn out the dough onto the floured surface. Divide the dough ball into two dough balls. One for each baguette.
- Roll one of the dough balls out with a rolling pin until it's about 14×10. It doesn't have to be precise. Roll the dough as you would cinnamon rolls from one long side to the other long side. Pinch the seam well and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down.
- Repeat with the second ball of dough.
- Cover your loaves with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Uncover your loaves and score the top with a knife.
- In a small bowl, whisk your egg white and tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the loaves with the egg wash.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 25 minutes. Enjoy!