Baguettes 4 Ways: using 1 recipe

Our Classic Baguettes and Stuffed Baguettes recipe is just as the name states – a classic. These baguettes are going to closely resemble those from an artisan bakery. They’ll be chewy and riddled with holes on the inside, and crisp and golden on the outside.

But this baguette dough does more than that – you can make four beautiful styles of baguette with just a few simple variations. Don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself – the pictures don’t lie!

Once you’ve made your dough and it’s had its long, slow first rise (with a gentle deflate towards the end), turn it out onto a lightly greased work surface. Follow along as we make 1… 2… 3… 4! baguettes that are as beautiful as they are crisp and delicious.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

1) Classic Baguettes

Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. To see it in action, check out our video on how to shape a baguette.

With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15″ log. Place the logs seam-side down in the folds of a floured couche. Cover the baguettes, and allow to rise until they’ve become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.

Artisan bread bakers use a canvas cloth (couche) to create their fabulous, crusty baguettes. The baguettes are placed on the couche while they rise, enabling the dough to keep its shape intact and its surface dry. This allows it to create a thin skin – which is the secret to that chewy crust. If you don’t have a couche, you can evenly space your baguette dough on a piece of parchment. The form just may spread a little with no sides to hold it up.

Towards the end of the rising time, place a pizza baking stone on the lowest rack of your oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Baking stones are recommended for home baking because they closely recreate the atmosphere of big bakery ovens. The stone absorb the oven’s heat and transfers it to the baguette, providing a very hot, even bake, compared to the air temperature fluctuations your loaf might endure on a plain metal pan. In addition, moisture from the loaf’s interior is drawn to the outer crust by the porous stone, yielding bread with incredibly crackly/crunchy crust and a light interior.

Baguette 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Gently roll baguettes from the couche onto a baguette transfer peel, and then onto a piece of parchment. If you don’t have a peel, you can use the back of a baking sheet to move your dough.

Baguette 4 Ways via @kingarthurflourOr simply onto a peel (as shown here), if you’ve perfected the art of “shaking” a shaped baguette from peel to hot baking stone.

Using a very sharp knife or lame held at about a 45° angle, make three to four 8″ vertical slashes in each baguette. Our video on how to slash a baguette walks you through it.

A lame (meaning “blade” in French) is a curved extra-sharp blade that professionals use to slash their bread. The curved blade – paired with the proper holding technique – really allows the blade to get underneath your crust as you cut, allowing just the right shape of expansion for your bread as it bakes. A knife will certainly score the dough, but it won’t give the classic crunchy “ear” shape that we associate with baguettes.

Spritz baguettes heavily with warm water, then transfer them to the heated stone in the oven.

If you don’t have a baking stone, you can transfer the baguettes – parchment and all – onto a baking sheet. The parchment keeps the loaves from sticking while they bake.

Baguette 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

The back of a baking sheet is a great mock transfer peel to move the baguette dough.

Bake baguettes until they’re a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.

Bonus: Seeded Baguette

If you’d like to crust your baguettes with seeds, you’re in luck – our bakers have mastered the art of seeding.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Dampen a kitchen towel, fold it in half, and lay it flat. Sprinkle a generous amount of seeds in a separate pan. We prefer to use our Artisan Bread Topping, but any combination will work. Picking up your risen baguette, roll it first on the damp towel, and then in the seeds.

Our bakers find this method to be much more consistent than spritzing with water and sprinkling seeds on top. Any unused seeds can go back in a container for later use.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

2) Epi de Blé

In Paris, every self-respecting bakery will offer épi de blé (sheaf of wheat) baguettes, a whimsical twist on the everyday baguette loaf. Once you hear the translation, you’ll note that these stunning loaves do, in fact, resemble a sheaf of wheat. They’re the ultimate picnic food, with each point breaking off into its own little bread roll.

Divide the dough into three pieces. Shape each piece as you would for a classic baguette.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Using scissors held at a 45° angle and held wider than the mouth of the bread, make swift, clean cuts 3/4 of the way into the dough. Move each cut piece to alternate sides of the loaf.

Repeat the process 2″ to 3″ farther down the loaf, moving the cut piece to the opposite side. Continue doing this until you reach the other end of the loaf.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Seeded dough is also easy to turn into épi de blé. They cut exactly the same way and create stunning loaves.

Note: the farther you cut into the loaf, the more elegant, though fragile, your épi de blé will be.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

3) Demi Baguette

Smaller in size than the classic, demi baguettes are perfect for that “dinner for two.” They also make the best sandwiches when split in half lengthwise and filled. Brie and apple, anyone?

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Divide the dough into six pieces. Shape each piece as you would for a classic baguette, rolling them into 7″-long loaves.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Demi baguettes are as versatile as their larger counterparts. They can be seeded (or not), as well as made into miniature épi de blé.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

4) Stuffed Baguette

“Why would you want to fill a baguette with meat and cheese?” Silly question. The better question should be, “Who wouldn’t want to?!” Stuffed baguettes make terrific picnic food, airplane food, hiking food, work lunch food…

Divide the baguette dough into six pieces, and shape each into a 5″-long rectangle.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

Layer with your favorite filling; we like mustard, ham, and Swiss cheese. Roll up like a jelly roll, sealing the long seam and pinching the ends closed. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes, until just slightly puffy. Slash each baguette twice lengthwise before baking.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflourThey aren’t the most “baguette-like” if the cheese happens to bursts through, but crispy cheese will win any beauty pageant we’re judging! Delicious.

Baguettes 4 Ways via @kingarthurflour

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked baguettes – but why go all the way to the bakery, when you can make them at home? Hopefully these baguette variations inspire you to get into the kitchen and get baking!

Gwen Adams
About

Gwen Adams grew up in northern New Hampshire, on top of a mountain, surrounded by nature and not much else. After graduating from Lyndon State College in 2010, Gwen sought a career that combined her passion for writing with her love of baking. She found ...

comments

  1. Ricardo Gonzalez - Petrópolis, RJ. Brazil

    Is always a nice news when we could see about breads and bread variations at this blog. As i said always you´re now on right way again with posts about breads in a generous number.
    This post sounds amazing.
    I have a trouble when bake my baguetes in some kind of ovens. They dont open ears after i slashed then even deeply. The cavities along the slashes are sometimes poor and not deeply as i wanted. The solution i learned is to put a small piece of unsalted butter over each slash just before breads are going to the oven. Then, after i inject some steam they turn better with deeply cavities along the slashes. Any other tips to avoid baguettes with not so deeply cavities and poor ears???
    Variated ways to bake baguettes are amazing and here i bake one of my own creation that is really great. I add grounded spiced paprika, sundried tomatoes, black olives, grounded black pepper and sliced Parisiene Champignons. Baguettes with these ingredients are really superb with that red colour of paprika and scented of olives and tomatoes! Give a try!!!
    Nice post Gwen!!!

    Reply
  2. j.Guarino

    The recipe looks great I love baking bread and from the look of it I’m sure the bread will be as delicious as it looks.THANK YOU FOR SHARING. MRS.G.

    Reply
  3. ron fousek

    I seriously doubt you can get the desired results with just spritzing with water. Steam allows the for crust to expand, caramelizing the sugars and developing of the starches.
    Ice cubes placed in a hot cast iron pan works with satisfactory results.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, Bill, you can fill a pan on the lowest shelf in your oven with hot water. The steam will help create a crusty, chewy crust! Bryanna@KAF

  4. Jim

    Pix are good but I didn’t see the ingredients list. You know, cups, tspns, etc.Is that on the bag with the KA flour?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jim, the recipe and ingredients list is at the very top of the blog post under the firs photo highlighted in orange. Bryanna@KAF

  5. Les

    Id like more education on the dough Recipies and chemically why one formulation works better than other formulation.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Les, after the fundamentals of baking are understood, often the formulations change because of the baker’s personal opinions as well as the options for baking schedules. Changes in fermentation time, temperature, dough hydration, and dough handling will all affect the final outcome. Many of these techniques are discussed on the professional level here: http://bit.ly/1GPa87D Please give our Hotline a call and we’ll happily answer some questions. You may also enjoy one of intensive baking classes in Norwich! Laurie@KAF

  6. Kelly

    I really appreciate it when a writer explains why things are done, instead of just saying “do it this way.” Thanks for helping me understand some of the shortcomings in my breads, and for saying it’s ok to substitute techniques if you don’t have all the right professional tools. Glad to see some of my DYI solutions are OK with the pros! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lee Jager

    I just made the stuffed baguettes the other night and though delicious, they did not have pockets and the airy-ness like the pictures. I can see that the way I shaped them wasn’t terribly off from what was depicted, but I didn’t notice any additional rise or rest time for the filled/stuffed baguettes – omission, or layer, roll, and bake just like that?
    – Either way, they were delicious, and even good cold the next day!

    The testers let the stuffed baguettes rest for about 20 minutes before baking, just enough to let the dough relax and start to rise again but not enough to cause a gap between the layers. Laurie@KAF

    Reply
  8. Marie Main

    I made the stuffed baguettes with this recipe and they turned out well…although the recipe in the catalog omitted the 15 to 20 min rest time and consequently my loaves did not turn out as fluffy as I would have liked. Still, a keeper recipe to try again with the rest time before baking! Some of the cheese did spill out but that made it all the better.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you checked out the full recipe version on our website as there’s more space there for tips, tricks and recipe success than the limited catalog space. We also bet the overnight starter added to the flavor of your baguette and that you’ll be making the recipe again and again. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  9. Cindy Pinney

    This really looks delicious. I’m going to give it a shot tonight. I’ve made “no knead” bread many many times but never real deal bread that requires all the kneading and shaping. I’m looking forward to it though. Question: the 14 hours for the poolish, I’m assuming it’s for flavor and gluetin development. Is 12 hours sufficient? What if it’s longer, like 16-18 hours. Just trying to plan the start of the project and wonder the pros and cons of shorter/longer poolish times. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Cindy, 12 hours would be fine. The longer the poolish goes, the tangier it gets; and eventually the gluten starts to break down from the acid. Still, I’d think 16-18 hours would be OK, considering you’re going to be combining the poolish with plenty of fresh flour. Enjoy the process! I think you’ll be very pleased with the results. PJH

    2. Cindy Pinney

      Thanks for responding. I did actually make it to 16hrs! I was excited and wanted to get it going. So at the end of this project I had 3 baguettes that never browned?!? They tasted good. The bread texture was a little dense, not at many air bubbles as I thought but still tasty. I had them on a cookie sheet with parchment on top of a pizza stone. The bottom browned. The crust was crusty. Just a pale top. Any ideas?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      This may be a good opportunity to call our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253. We’ll chat about oven temp. and bake time as well as getting the interior we both picture. Working together, we’ll get you back to Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel

      Herb, our recipes are all printer-friendly; you’ll find the link on the recipe page, upper right. Unfortunately, the blog posts aren’t printer-friendly, and can’t be made so, despite our best efforts so far. Here’s the link to print this baguette recipe. Enjoy – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel

      Yeah, pretty much. You can make crackers without yeast but then, they’re crackers, not bread. I imagine you could make very thin/crunchy breadsticks without yeast, using baking powder instead; I’ve never seen a recipe, but I’ll bet there’s one out there somewhere. PJH

  10. Betz Dundas

    Wonderful – came out perfect. I used a tea towel and floured it to make my “couche”
    Worked fine.Cooked it on my baking stone and left in the oven after cooking for a crunchy crust. Yummy will make it again!

    Reply
  11. Jude

    Dear KAF. Thank you SO much for the help with Baguettes. They weren’t perfect, but a lot better than usual. I almost gave up, but wont quit trying now.
    thank you

    jg

    Reply
  12. Sylvia Barsotti

    It would be great if a vídeo on epi de blé were posted. I am about to shape my dough in a few hours and bake this recipe for the first time. At this moment I am afraid to try it and cut it wrong.

    Thanks for the recipe. I have been baking your other bread recipe (the dough you can keep in the fridge for about 7 days) and so far it has been a succes.

    Sylvia Barsotti
    São Paulo, Brazil

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sylvia, I’ve shared your suggestion to create a video showing how to shape an epi with the appropriate team to consider in future discussions about our baguettes video series. If you haven’t seen the others, you might find this one about shaping a basic baguette helpful. Kye@KAF

  13. Sylvia Barsotti

    I have just got my bread off the oven. I am so disappointed to see that the parchment paper is “glued” entirely to the base of the bread. What have I done wrong?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry to hear you’re in a sticky situation. Some kinds of parchment paper aren’t quite as non-stick as others, so next time you can try spraying the paper with non-stick spray (we recommend Everbake Pan Spray). Sprinkling a bit of cornmeal or rice flour into the bottom of the pan can also help prevent sticking. Kye@KAF

  14. Sylvia Barsotti

    Thanks. I believe I was not very clever. My pan is a non-sticky and I completely ignored it, trying to follow the recipe. Lol. I am trying again and hopefully it will come out different now.

    As to the epi de ble, It is ok, I saw a vídeo on YouTube and used it. Not difficult once you see how it is done.

    Reply
  15. Alan

    Hi,
    I have tried many times to make this and never get the gas bubble crumb more like white bread, what am I doing wrong?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s hard to say without more info, Alan, but you could be running into problems during the rise (and deflation and folding), or with your dough being heavier/drier than necessary. If you give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE, we’d be happy to troubleshoot with you more specifically. Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re guessing you mean couche, Carol, otherwise it sounds like you have a messy situation on your hands! It’s important to keep your couche well-floured, even between making batches of dough. (Don’t clean it off fully.) Rub a few handfuls of flour into the material until it is absorbed and then let your dough rise nestled in it. This should help! Kye@KAF

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