Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Homemade Baguettes...

Three baguettes laying on a cooling rack, on the counter.

I am beginning to think that this truly is the winter that will never end! 
After a couple fantastic days this weekend of warmer temps and sunshine, we woke up to another snow storm this morning.  :(
 Oh well, I refuse to let that get me down! 
Since it is cold and blustery out, my heart is crying out for some scrumptious Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  However, you can't have something as decadent as broccoli cheddar soup and not have a nice, crusty bread to dip in it.  The problem is that there is no way I am leaving the house today for bread.  Now I know you have been told that it is impossible to make beautiful, crusty, artisan baguettes at home. And, if you have been told it was possible, you were told you had to have a special pan and steam functions on your oven.  Well, kitchen friends, I am here to prove them all wrong!  Today, I am going to be making some beautiful baguettes in my 10x10 galley kitchen with a standard oven, and are your ready for this, no baguette pan!  Oh yeah, I'm breaking all the rules today and you can too!  This is a little bit of a time commitment, but I promise you, if you come to the table with these show stoppers your family will be blown away!  Let's get started...

Homemade Baguettes:
*Prep-Time:  2 hr. and 20 min.  *Cook Time:  30 minutes  *Difficulty:  Intermediate  *Servings:  3 loaves

Here is what you need:

Flour, sugar, yeast, oil, water, and a Kitchenaid mixer.

  • 3-4 c. of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 c. Warm Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dry Active Yeast
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt

 Here we go!

A measuring cup, sitting on a counter, with yeast blooming in it.

Put the yeast and sugar in a measuring cup and add the WARM water.
Set aside and give the yeast time to proof, about 10 minutes.

A picture of the mixer bowl with flour in it.

While the yeast is proofing, put your flour and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer.

A measuring cup, sitting on the counter, with the yeast fully bloomed inside.

After 10 minutes have elapsed, the yeast should be alive and active.  There will be a foam on the top of the water.

Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour.

A kitchenaid  mixer kneading bread dough.

The flour and yeast will come together and make the dough.  You may have to use a rubber spatula to scrap the sides of the bowl.  Turn your mixer up one level and allow the dough to knead for 5-6 minutes.

A mixing bowl being brushed with oil.

While the dough is kneading, take this time to oil a large mixing bowl.

A mixing bowl, on the counter, with a dishtowel over it.

When your dough has finished kneading, place in the oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. 
Let it rise, in a warm place, for 1 hour.

A mixing bowl, on the counter, with risen bread dough in it.

After the dough has risen it should be double in size.

Flour on the counter with a ball of bread dough on it.

Now you will need to heavily flour your work space and place the dough on it.

Flour on the counter with a ball of bread dough being cut into portions with a bench scraper.

Cut into 3 equal parts.  This will give you 3 thin baguettes. 
 If you would like a little heartier loaf, cut the dough in 2 parts.


Flour on the counter with the bread dough cut into three separate portions.

Like this.  :)

Flour on the counter with the three dough portions.  One is being flattened out and rolled into a snake.

Take each piece, flatten a little, and fold one half of the dough roll in...

And then the other.

Flour on the counter.  Two portions of bread dough at the top of image, on by a ruler.

Take a moment and fold the ends under.  Each loaf should measure about 12 inches long.

Place all 3 loaves on a floured baking sheet. 

Cover, again, with a damp towel and allow to rise for another hour. 

While the dough is rising, take this opportunity to place one rack on the very top of your oven, and one rack on the bottom.  On the bottom rack you will want to place the cast iron skillet or a baking sheet.  Pre-heat the oven to 475. 

After about an hour the loaves will have doubled in size.  They are nearly ready to bake. 

But, before you put them into the oven, take a pairing knife and score the loaves 3 or 4 times. 

Like this.

Put the loaves on the top rack and pour 1 cup of water into the skillet.  Quickly close the door and DO NOT OPEN IT!!  What you are doing here is creating that steam environment that artisan breads need to get nice and crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

The loaves will bake for 30 minutes. 
However, at about 20 minutes I would starting keeping an eye on them. 
 I only baked mine for 25.

There you have it!  Beautiful baguettes. 
No special pan, no steam oven. 
 The crust is beautifully crisp and crunchy...

While the inside is soft and chewy! 

This pairs perfect with any soup on a cold night!  :) 
 Now, go out there and wow your friends with your Parisian baking skills and as always...

Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,

~The Kitchen Wife~


  1. Thanks for the recipe. Can I use whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose flour?