Classic Baguettes Bakealong: Challenge #11

bakealong-logoWelcome to our June bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this month’s recipe, Classic Baguettes, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

You’re at your local bakery, and you have the good fortune to nab a fresh, hot baguette. Feeling its warmth in your hands, you simply can’t wait to get home to rip into it. Crisp shards of crust litter the car seat; you don’t care. A just-baked baguette is so worth it.

What if you could skip the bakery, and re-create that experience at home? Pulling a fresh baguette from your oven, ripping it open, a wisp of steam slipping from its holey interior…

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

And there’s a bonus: When you bake baguettes at home, you can hear them “sing:” the properly baked baguette makes a distinctive crackling sound during its first 15 seconds or so out of the oven. This elusive song alone is reason enough to join our Classic Baguettes bakealong challenge.

Call it DIY to die for.

Hot, crusty baguettes made at home? Take the #bakealong challenge and see how it's done! Click To Tweet

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make the starter (a.k.a. poolish)

Mix the following in a medium-sized bowl:

1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*

*We recommend our unbleached all-purpose flour for this recipe (both starter and dough), as its protein level and other attributes closely mimic the flour used by French bread bakers. But feel free to use unbleached bread flour, if you like; there’s no need to adjust the amount of liquid, the dough will simply be a bit stiffer.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Cover this starter and let it rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have expanded and become bubbly.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Mix the dough

Mix the following together to make a rough dough:

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Knead the dough

Knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — until it’s soft and fairly smooth. It should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough.

If you’re using a KitchenAid stand mixer, knead for about 4 minutes on speed 2 (medium-low speed); the finished dough will stick a bit at the bottom of the bowl.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Let the dough rise

Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-sized bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 90 minutes, gently deflating it, pulling the edges into the center, and turning it over after 45 minutes. Deflating the dough redistributes and aerates the yeast, which helps it grow.  

Note: A long, slow rise is an excellent way to develop flavor in simple breads like this baguette. As yeast grows, it releases organic acids and alcohol, both of which are flavor carriers. If desired, reduce the yeast in the dough to 1 teaspoon and allow the dough to rise for three hours (rather than 90 minutes) at cool room temperature (around 68°F). Deflate it twice — once at the one-hour mark, and again at two hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflourShape the baguettes

Round each piece of dough into a rough ball by pulling the edges into the center. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes (or for up to 1 hour, if that works better with your schedule).

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflourWorking with one piece at a time, flatten the dough slightly then fold it nearly (but not quite) in half, sealing the edges with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough around, and repeat: fold, then flatten. Repeat this whole process again; the dough should have started to elongate itself.

With the seam side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 16″ log. Your goal is a 15″ baguette, so 16″ allows for the slight shrinkage you’ll see once you’re done rolling.

Taper each end of the log slightly to create the baguette’s typical “pointy” end.

For a great visual of all this see our video, how to shape a baguette.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Let the baguettes rise

Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet; or into the folds of a heavily floured cotton dish towel (or couche).

Cover them loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise until they’re slightly puffy (“marshmallow-y” is the term we use in our baking school). The loaves should certainly look lighter and less dense than when you first shaped them, but won’t be anywhere near doubled in bulk. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature (about 68°F).

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Why not let your loaves double in size, as is often the case with pan breads?

When you’re baking baguettes, which usually aren’t supported by a pan, you need to be very careful they don’t rise too long and become fragile. An under-risen loaf will expand nicely in the oven, while one that’s risen too long will deflate. So better to let your loaves under-rise than over-rise.

Prepare for baking

While the loaves are rising, preheat your oven to 450°F with a cast iron pan (preferably enameled) on the floor of the oven, or on the lowest rack.

If you’re using a baking stone, place it on a middle rack. For best results, stone and cast iron pan should preheat for a full hour. 

If you don’t have a cast iron pan, use any metal pan capable of being heated without anything in it; even an inexpensive aluminum pan should do. But don’t put the pan into the oven until just before you add the bread.

Start to heat 1 1/2 cups water to boiling.

If your baguettes have risen in a dish towel or couche, gently roll them (seam side down) onto a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet. If you plan on baking them on a baking stone, roll them onto a piece of parchment.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Using a baker’s lame (a special curved blade) or a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three to five long lengthwise slashes in each baguette. To see this technique in action check out our video, how to slash a baguette

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Bake the baguettes

Load the baguettes into the oven. If you’re baking on a stone, use a baker’s peel to transfer the baguettes, parchment and all, onto the hot stone.

Carefully pour the boiling water into the cast iron pan, and quickly shut the oven door. The billowing steam created by the boiling water will help the baguettes rise, and give them a lovely, shiny crust.

Want to learn more about steam and yeast bread? See our blog post, steam in bread baking.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Bake the baguettes — on the pan, or on a stone — for 24 to 28 minutes, or until they’re a very deep golden brown.

Remove them from the oven and cool them on a rack.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven. Leave the baguettes in the oven until both oven and baguettes are at room temperature. If the baguettes have baked on a pan, remove them from the pan and place them right on the oven rack, for best circulation.

Classic Baguettes Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

This time of year, with fresh vegetables and herbs so readily available, we like to slice baguettes and turn them into bruschetta. Nothing better!

Baking gluten-free?

The high-rising, light texture of baguettes doesn’t easily lend itself to the absence of gluten. We don’t recommend you try to bake a gluten-free baguette, but instead urge you to check out our tempting array of gluten-free bread recipes.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you live high on a mountainside? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Take the challenge!

Are you ready to take the Classic Baguettes Bakealong challenge? Follow this post on your tablet or laptop, or print the recipe. And when you’re done, remember to post your photos, tagged #bakealong. We’re looking forward to seeing your gorgeous baguettes!

Bakealong LIVE

Be sure to like our Facebook page and join us on Thursday, June 8 at 7:30pm EDT — we’ll lead a LIVE baking class, teaching this month’s recipe, and answer your questions on-air.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. IanR

    I don’t suppose you have the weight to use instead of the volume? I just prefer it as I think it makes for more consistent bread.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      But of course! Thanks for asking, Ian. We love baking by weights for the sake of consistency. You can click on the “ounces” or “grams” buttons below the ingredients header when looking at the full recipe to see the ingredients displayed by weight. Happy baguette baking! Kye@KAF

    2. Christopher Smith

      120 grams per cup of AP Flour. I keep it written in permanent ink on the side of my flour container in case I have a recipe that doesn’t have the conversion.

    3. B Cathcart

      On the recipe page you can show the recipe by volume, ounces, or grams.Just click the appropriate button.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Kristy, go ahead and use your baguette pan; no adjustments if you’re using the three-well perforated pan. For a stoneware pan, see the baguette recipe linked from this blog; the tips at the end give information about baking in a stoneware baguette baker. PJH

    2. SHARON

      PLEASE DO NOT RUIN A GOOD CAST IRON PAN. THE WATER WILL RUIN THE SURFACE AND YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-SEASON IT ALL OVER AGAIN. USE SOMETHING STAINLESS STEEL OR SOMETHING YOU DO NOT WANT TO RUIN. BELIEVE ME I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

    3. Janice

      That same thing happened to me with my cast iron. I will never do it again. I have a cheap dollar store aluminum turkey roaster that I use only for steam.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sari, it would be pretty hard fitting long, skinny baguettes into a Dutch oven! 🙂 But I think I understand your question: can this dough be shaped and baked in a covered pan? Yes, it can; simply treat it as you would any cloche-type dough. Good luck — PJH

    2. sari

      funny! I have a loaf shaped one- and thought a nice round loaf would be good, so than you .

  2. Claire

    Can you use the stretch and fold method to develop the gluten instead of kneading with a machine or by hand?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, Claire, you certainly can. It’s especially useful right at the beginning, when the dough can feel quite slack. Thanks for suggesting this — PJH

  3. Josh

    For a better crumb yet I combine the dough’s flour and water (68% hydration – that is 500 gr flour and 340 gr water) without yeast and let it sit for the same duration as the polish for a “good” autolyse. (Good hydration is the key factor here.) The day after, before the kneading process I add the yeast moistened with about 20 gr of warm water and the poolish. Total hydration is apporx 76% (pretty wet) which yields a wonderful chewy crumb and crackling crust.
    Baker’s formula (in grams) is then:

    Flour Water Yeast
    Poolish:
    100 100 7

    Dough
    500 340

    Yeast
    20 3
    ———————–
    600 460 = 76% Hydration

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks, Josh — this is good information, especially for our more advanced bread bakers. I love a high-hydration loaf, despite the challenge of working with a very slack dough. Thanks for sharing your formula. PJH

  4. Sandy

    The photos look like you are baking on a wooden bread board. I have one similar to what yours looks like…can I assume it’s safe to put my wood board into a 450 degree oven without a problem? Is yours treated with something? Thanks

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sandy, the dough is shown on the wooden bread board just to set it off visually, but no, please don’t put your wooden board into the oven; it wouldn’t be very happy! We advise baking on a baking stone or on a metal pan. PJH

  5. Deedle Whitcher

    Thanks for the precise directions using a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. Having never made baguettes, I found it very helpful. One question though: should I use the dough hook or the paddle attachment when kneading?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Deedle, you can either start with the paddle attachment and then switch to the dough hook once the dough starts to come together, or you can simply start with the dough hook right away. Either way, you’ll want to knead the dough for about 4 minutes, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and it feels a little bouncy. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      Hi – I start with the paddle attachment, using that to bring the ingredients together. Once everything is cohesive, I switch to the dough hook. If the dough doesn’t form a ball or at least start to using the dough hook, feel free to switch back to the paddle for a couple of minutes. PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, Yvonne, use about a cup of fed sourdough starter (about 8 ounces) in place of the poolish. PJH

  6. Mike

    If I substitute 30% whole wheat flour, would I need to make any other adjustments?
    Also, should I be able to make 2 fatter loaves rather than the classic skinny baguettes?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Hi Mike: For a simple 30% whole wheat substitution, you should be fine just following the recipe as written. The dough may be a tad drier, and the rise may suffer just a bit; but it’ll still be a good result. And yes, go ahead and make two fatter loaves; you may find they need to bake a bit longer. Good luck — PJH

    2. Mike

      Thanks for the comment. I’m thinking the whole wheat should be used in the starter, where gluten formation isn’t so critical and the flavor impact is more important.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      That would be a good idea, Mike. Even in the starter the whole wheat will be “taking up space” that would otherwise be devoted to flour with more gluten-forming capabilities, but as you say, it’s less critical there. PJH

    4. B Cathcart

      Another solution is to sieve out the bran in the whole wheat. You get the improved flavor without cutting the gluten.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Great question, Patti. 1/16 of a teaspoon is just a pinch. If this seems like too haphazard of a measuring method for you, you can fill a 1/8 of a teaspoon measure half way. You need just a small amount of yeast to get the starter nice and happy. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  7. Christopher Smith

    If I put a pan of water in the oven while the oven is preheating, will I get the same effect? It seems safer than dealing with hot oven and boiling water.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Christoper, if the water is actively boiling and producing steam when you put the loaves in, then yes, fine to do it this way. You just want to make sure your oven is “steamy” when you load the loaves. PJH

  8. Peggy Adams

    What about using bread flour instead of AP? Is there an advantage or no? If using I presume the dough need a bit more water.

    Thank you! I’ve been enjoying these bake a longs and my troops devour the end results.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Peggy, the bread flour tends to lend a bit more rise to your loaves, but honestly, in this case, there’s not a lot of difference. I tend to reserve bread flour for combining with partially whole-grain loaves, to give their rise extra “pop.” If you read the tips at the end of the recipe, you’ll see what I say about using bread flour in these baguettes. SO glad your troops love the results of your bakealongs! PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Waikikirie, I KNOW you can pull this off! Just take it step by step. And I’m glad your husband has such a generous heart, with plenty of love for both of us! 🙂 PJH

  9. Jenny

    I’m confused by the boiling water part. Did you place a pan onto the floor of he oven– then pour the water onto this pan? Thanks for the clarification.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’ve got it, Jenny. The cast iron pan pre-heats on the floor of the oven or the bottom rack, along with the baking stone and the oven. Just as soon as we put the baguettes into the oven, we pour the boiling water into the pre-heated pan, creating a nice burst of steam that helps achieve a fully risen, crispy baguette. This steam is also quite hot, so take care to protect your hands with oven mitts or a hearty kitchen towel. Mollie@KAF

    2. B Cathcart

      Instead of cast iron, I bought an additional broiler pan and use that for steam. It’s made to take the high heat without warping and the boiling water won’t drop the temperature appreciably.

  10. Kim

    I made the bread today. It wasn’t as brown and I didn’t get my cuts deep enough, but the taste was wonderful! Thanks so much for the great recipe and all the extra advice on how to make the bread.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You’re welcome, Kim — I’m sure you had excellent results for your first try. Just keep practicing, and your loaves will get better and better. Happy baguette baking! PJH

  11. Amy

    I made these yesterday and they tasted great, but I think that I did not make the slashes deep enough, I used a disposable scalpel which was very sharp but there was not that much separation when baked, how deep should the slashes be?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Amy, that’s a good question. I make the slashes 3/8″ to 1/2″ deep. Along with how deep they are, making them at a 45° angle helps, too, as does making sure your oven is filled with steam, and putting the loaves into the oven at just the right point — they should be risen, but not over-risen. Practice will help you with all of this — and the results along the way will always be tasty, I promise you! PJH

  12. Stephanie

    I have a convection oven so I typically reduce the heat about 25 degrees but sometimes judging the allotted baking time on bread is intimidating. Is there a good way to judge the time? I’d hate to take it out too soon!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Stephanie, our blog post, Using a thermometer with yeast bread, has a good section on judging when baguettes are done. Scan to the end of the post to find it. Bottom line you want to bake them until they’re VERY dark, compared to most breads. Good luck — PJH

  13. Judy

    When using 1/3 whole wheat flour — Somewhere on the King Arthur website is a note that your research indicated best flavors come from making starter with the white flour instead of the whole wheat. They agreed somehow it was counter intuitive…as here, where the idea is to use the whole wheat first. Do you think it really matters?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I’m not sure about a difference in flavor, Judy; I think starter made with AP flour might expand a bit more, compared to whole wheat, but I suspect you’re not going to see a huge difference either way, adding your 1/3 whole wheat in the starter or in the dough. There are so many different paths to the same destination: good, tasty bread. PJH

  14. Layla

    I made them friday, but I think I have to use some more water. I did not have so much nice holes in it. I think I have to practice one more time, but we ate it. It was good, but did not look as nice as yours…. I have to figure out. Let you know.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Layla, practice definitely makes — well, if not perfect, at least improved when you’re talking about baguettes. I’ve been making them for years, and am always learning something new, especially as regards the stickiness of the dough, and how long to let the shaped loaves rise. I suspect you’re right — you probably needed a bit less flour in your loaves in order to get them to open up and finish with a really “airy” texture. Good luck — and do let us know how it goes. PJH

  15. Patti Kirchhoff

    I’m going to try this recipe with a steaming technique I recently read about using lava rocks (that I purchased in a hardware store for gas grills). You put one of those aluminum rectangular or pie pans filled with lava rocks beneath the baking stone during the preheat. When ready to bake the bread, pour 1/4 cup boiling water on the preheated rocks. Close oven door for 1 minute to create steam. Then place the bread on the stone and pour another 1/4 cup boiling water over the rocks. Bake bread as usual. I can’t wait to try this with this recipe. Wish me luck!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Good luck, Patti — That sounds like a neat way to fill your oven with steam. Let us know how it goes, OK? PJH

  16. Ingrid

    What a great bakealong! I’ve always wanted to do baguettes. (The last time I tried, I stepped out of the kitchen to check the recipe on my computer in the next room, and my food-obsessed golden retriever ATE the rising loaves.) This time things went much better, although I had trouble with the lame, even after watching the video a few times. My dough seemed really soft and sticky. They’re baked now, and they still look marvelous and smell fantastic. Can’t wait to bite into them!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Soft, sticky dough is perfect, Ingrid — I hope the baguettes lived up to your expectations once you tasted them. Now, as for your golden, I know they’re HAPPY dogs, but I can’t imagine how he felt with rising dough in his tummy… ouch! 🙁 Hope he was OK. PJH

  17. Judy Bednarz

    Is there a way to print the photos, when I try all I get is the narrative. I do not have a computer at home so I would like to print the pictures to help as I make. Thanks

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Judy, sorry, there’s no way at this time to print the photos. If you have a smart phone, you could follow the recipe along on your phone, complete with pictures. Other than that, your best bet is taking photos of the pictures on the computer screen; I know it’s awkward, but I’ve done this in the past… PJH

    2. Debra

      I screenshot the recipe & individual pictures..then I put the SD Card into the photo machine at the store (Wal-Mart for our area has those cool kiosk machines) or put the SD card into the home printer. Good luck!

  18. Lucia

    My daughter just returned from living in Paris and I am going to make baguettes for her to ease the transition. There is nothing like the crispy softness of a baguette with cheese. Yummmm. l’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lucia, we look forward to hearing how your American-made baguettes stack up against the “real thing,” in your daughter’s eyes. Spread them with sweet butter and some thin slices of ripe Camembert, as they do in Paris, and I think your daughter will be happy indeed! PJH

  19. Jan Oliver

    This recipe was wonderful to work with and better to eat. I love it. And I promised myself to bake it at least once a week and share with friends, if we can’t eat it in a timely manner. My husband and me agree it is better than any store bought bread. Besides, I love the smell and texture of this recipe. THANKS!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You’re most welcome, Jan. Thanks for taking the Bakealong challenge! PJH

  20. Mimi

    I followed the instructions as written–no couche (it’s coming soon from KAF), but a perforated baguette pan–the baguettes are *perfect*! Best I’ve ever made. I am a newbie, so really appreciate this bakealong!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Mimmi, so glad to hear about your successful baguette bake! Enjoy your couche, too — it’ll add a little something extra to the crust. Thanks for sharing — PJH

  21. Rose

    Hi,

    I made the bagettes yesterday. Although they are tasty and look good, I was somewhat disappointed in the results. I had to knead them by hand as my kitchenaid could not handle the dough. My dough was a bit tough and heavy not sticky. I think I did not knead it enough. I wanted to get a lot of crumb but my bread looks more like a regular loaf of bread, although the crust is really good. I was also hoping to have more yeast flavor and did not. But the positive side is that I was able to shape, and score the bagette nicely. Also, I measured the flour at 4.75 oz per cup, I believe that was incorrect. Could that be where I went wrong?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Rose, if your mixer had trouble kneading the dough, I suspect it was much too stiff; this would also explain its toughness, and its probable (from what you say) lack of large holes in the interior. We weigh our flour at 4.25 ounces per cup, which means you used an extra 1/2 cup+ flour in your baguettes compared to the ones pictured in this blog post — which would certainly make your dough a lot stiffer than ours was. I hope you try these again, pegging your flour at 4.25 ounces a cup — I think you’ll be much more pleased with the results. PJH

  22. Jennifer Balke

    PJ,
    At what point in the baking should I open the oven briefly to let out the steam (so that the baguettes can finish in a dry oven)? About halfway through, or is that not necessary with baguettes? I’m going to make my poolish this afternoon and give them a whirl tomorrow!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Jennifer, I don’t think it’s necessary. The high temp. seems to bake off the team pretty readily. However, just to be sure, it wouldn’t hurt to open the oven door very briefly about 15 minutes in; if there was any steam remaining at that point it would readily escape, leaving your baguettes 10 minutes or so to finish without steam. Good luck!! PJH

  23. Diane Perris

    I am planning on trying to bake these this weekend. I have a metal 3-loaf perforated baguette pan I’d like to try and am still a bit confused about where it comes into the process. Can I put the shaped loaves into the pan for the second rise and then just transfer pan/loaves into oven after slashing? I’ve also heard slack dough really sticks to these pans and can overwhelm the perforations. Some people have said line each tray with parchment; others have said it will be fine if I just coat it heavily with oil.
    Finally I took a bread baking class a while ago where the baker told us to spray the inside of our oven with water to create steam rather than the pan method; she said it was safer. What do you think of that?
    Thank you!
    Diane

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Diane, yes, you put the shaped loaves into the baguette pan, let them rise, and bake them right in the pan. And yes, I’d spray the pan with vegetable oil spray; the first time you use this pan the bread inevitably sticks, but the more you use it, the more naturally non-stick it becomes. That said, if the dough is reallllly sticky and slack, it can ooze through the holes and glue the bread to the pan. But this particular dough isn’t like that, especially if you shape it on a floured surface so it has that little skim of flour on the outside. As for spraying the inside of your oven, I think the steam disappears way too quickly. If you hesitate to do the pan and boiling water, I’ve had good luck spraying the baguettes themselves; that moistness on the surface of the dough mimics somewhat the effect of steam, which is to keep the dough pliable enough through the first part of baking that the loaf rises, rather than sets too quickly. Good luck! PJH

    2. Diane Perris

      Thanks so much!
      What do you think of the comment that pouring boiling water into a cast iron pan will ruin it?
      Diane

    3. Susan Reid

      Diane: water in a cast iron pan will certainly ruin whatever seasoning is on it; if you wanted to use the cast iron for cooking it would have to be reseasoned after being used for steaming.
      I have preferred using an inexpensive yard sale pan that becomes dedicated to the function of oven teaming. You can also put the lava rocks you’d use in a gas grill in the pan and poor the water on those. Susan

  24. Pasquale

    Made this bread yesterday/today. Used KAF Bread flour for the starter and All Purpose for the rest. Great results. Thx.

    Reply
  25. Vitoria Correa Netto

    I am having a hard time in figuring out how I am going to measure the below:

    1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Vitoria, if you have an eighth-teaspoon measure, which often comes with the standard set, it’s half of that. But your best bet is simply to take a pinch of yeast between thumb and first finger; whatever you grab should be good enough. Starting with exactly 1/16 teaspoon yeast isn’t critical at all, that’s more of a guideline. Good luck — PJH

  26. Che'smom

    This was amazing, I made 2 loaves so my guys could make “guy size” sandwiches, these looked and tasted like something from a bakery, thanks KAF

    Reply
  27. Rachel

    any recommendations if you’re a college student that wants to wants to make this but doesn’t have a cast iron pan?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Rachel, you need some kind of pan to stick in the bottom of the oven; the simplest solution, while it won’t be as hot as cast iron (and thus won’t produce as much steam), is simply an inexpensive flat aluminum pan (like a rectangular cake pan) from the supermarket or dollar store. Good luck — PJH

  28. Linda Sepeda

    I baked these and my son’s French fiance declared them to be very good. The rest of the family liked them also.

    Reply
  29. Lyn C

    I look forward to making this version of the classic baguette this weekend. One question and a comment. Question: I happen to have some of KAF’s French Style flour on hand that needs to be used and I’m wondering if I need to adjust anything to the Bakealong recipe?

    The comment: Just a warning to any of you that have ovens with their electronics (settings & knobs) beneath the oven cavity. Years ago, I used Julia Child’s steaming method which happens to be just like the one in this month’s BAL. One time the water spilled over the floor pan and out of the oven. Poof the water shorted out the oven’s thermostat. That was one expensive baguette! Just pour carefully and you’ll be fine.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lyn, go ahead and use the French-style flour — it’ll behave the same as all-purpose. And thanks for that tip — an expensive baguette indeed. OUCH! PJH

  30. Jay Lyons

    You had mentioned Freezer. When exactly may I use the freezer? To freeze the dough or to freeze the finished baguette?

    Thx!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Freeze the finished baguettes, Jay. Wrap them very well in plastic, and use them within a month. Good luck — PJH

  31. Virginia Hudson

    I made them and was pleased with the result. The crust was not as crisp as I hoped but I reheated the loaf and it was warm and crusty for supper. Also I wrapped the others like a sub in parchment paper and secured it with a rubber band. Best way I have found to store crisp bread without wrecking the crust.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Virginia, I love the parchment tip! I’m going to try that next time I bake baguettes. Thanks! PJH

  32. Candy

    Hi PJ,

    What is room temperature for you? I live in a warm, humid country where temp averages 33 degrees Celsius (82 F). I found baking bread requires that I turn on air conditioning in the kitchen especially during the summer. I’m thinking whether I should bring the starter to my bedroom where it’s much cooler.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Candy, my room temperature varies from high 50s to mid 90s (Fahrenheit), depending on time of year. Bread loves to rise at about 78°F, though, so you’re not too far off with your 33°C. At any rate, bread will rise at most any temperature; you just have to adjust your rising times up or down to account for the heat (or lack thereof). Hope this helps — PJH

  33. Rose

    PJ,

    I made more bagettes using the correct amount of flour and they are great. We liked them so much I made 6 loaves. I am wondering though, could I spritz the inside of the oven to get steam after I load it because by the time I transfer the bagettes onto my stone I am not seeing any steam. Also, the water really discolored my hubbies cast iron pan, so I bought my own small one just to use for water in the oven. It was only $10 at Walmart.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Rose, that’s a good idea, using a dedicated cast iron pan. If you preheat the pan in the oven, then add boiling water, it should create steam; if you’re not seeing steam, then either the pan or water aren’t hot enough. And yes, you do have to be very quick about shutting the oven door once you pour the water into the pan. Just spritzing water into the oven won’t create enough steam; I think you should give the pan/boiling water another try, this time with your own pan. Good luck! PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Nancy — your rising times will probably be impacted the next day, but a long, slow rise is great for building flavor. Also, refrigeration encourages the production of acetic acid, which will give your loaves a bit of sourdough tang. Go for it! PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Julie, it’ll work; but for all the time and effort, maybe you could consider freezing two of the baguettes for later. Or even giving them away to friends or colleagues? Whichever way you go, enjoy — it’s a fun process with a delicious result. PJH

  34. Jim

    In Re ; Freezing baguettes after baking.
    What is the procedure for freezing and thawing the baguettes, including the length of time they can be frozen?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jim, there’s no right or wrong way to thaw baguettes, but the way we like to do it is by allowing the frozen baguettes to sit in their wrapping at room temperature for a few hours until they’re thawed all the way through. Set the oven to 375 degrees and quickly run the baguettes under a stream of water from the faucet (or you can spray the loaf with a spritz bottle) and then put it into the hot oven for about 3-5 minutes. Although this might seem like a bizarre technique, it works! It helps to re-crisp the loaves in just a few minutes. They’re practically as good as fresh! Kye@KAF

  35. Didi

    If I want to use a sourdough sponge, do I add the same amount of flour and water as in your poolish to 2 Tb of starter?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Didi, why not just use 8 ounces of your fed starter in place of the poolish — would that work for you? Or yes, you could do as you suggest; the additional liquid/flour in the 2 tablespoons of starter isn’t going to make enough difference for you to have to adjust the flour/liquid ratio in the dough. Good luck — PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad to hear you’ve got baguettes ready to go, Luaya. You can post them on this post on our Facebook page, or you can share them on Instagram or Twitter using #bakealong in the caption. We can’t wait to check them out. Thanks for baking along with us! Kye@KAF

  36. Didi

    Sorry, another question about using a sourdough starter to replace the polish. Will I still add yeast to the dough? That doesn’t seem right.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Didi, I prefer not to think there’s an ultimate right or wrong in baking; every recipe can be adjusted, via ingredients and technique, to do what you want it to do. You can make the baguettes without yeast, sure; depending on the strength of your starter, the micro-clime of your kitchen, and other factors, you’ll adjust the rising times of both the dough and the shaped baguettes. Best of luck to you — sounds like a fun project! PJH

  37. Kristine

    I have Kitchen Aid oven with a steam option for bread. Would that be an alternative method for steam?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, Kristine, if you can add steam to your oven automatically, go for it. Just be sure to stop the steam with about 10-15 minutes to go, OK? PJH

  38. Joan

    My baguettes did not rise as much as I thought they should and were somewhat flat. They were not overproofed, for sure. I followed the recipe and also gave the push test to be sure. Can you give me any advice on getting more rise as well as oven spring?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Joan, sorry about that — just remember, yeast baking is as much art as science. Sometimes your loaves will shine, and sometimes… not so much. Keep trying, though — every time you bake it’s a potential learning opportunity. Are you sure your oven was hot enough? Do you have an independent oven thermometer, since built-in oven thermometers are notoriously inaccurate? Did you add enough steam? When the baguettes were rising, were they well covered, so they didn’t develop a thin skin (which would prevent rising)? If your yeast was good and accurate; and you measured your flour by weight, to make sure you weren’t over-packing your cup and creating a dough with low hydration; and the oven temp. was right, I’m not sure what else could have happened. But please do call our Baker’s Hotline for a consultation — they may be able to talk you through it. 855-371-2253. Hope you try the recipe again — PJH

  39. shirley@everopensauce.com

    I have good success with this recipe. Thanks for the detailed instructions. They are very helpful. I wonder whether you have developed a baguette recipe using the sprouted flour that KAF has started selling. I like the sprouted flour for many reasons. Easy to work with is one of them.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Shirley, we’re glad to hear you’re eager to use our Sprouted Wheat Flour! We have a recipe for Whole Wheat Baguettes, which you could use as a base and replace the whole wheat flour with Sprouted Wheat Flour. Alternately, you could use our Six-Grain Baguettes recipe if you want a little crunch of whole grains in your bread. (Again, replace the White Whole Wheat Flour with Sprouted Wheat Flour.) Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  40. Pam

    Three loaves is one loaf too many.
    At what point during the rise,can I freeze one for later?
    And, can I?
    I like producing more than one loaf, but would like to know how best to freeze.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Pam, we’re glad to hear you’re eager to bake baguettes! The unbaked dough may not rise or have the same structure if it’s frozen, so we recommend freezing the extra loaves after they’re baked. You’ll want to remove one or two loaves out of the oven 5 minutes early, when they’re still lighter in color. Once they’re fully cooled, wrap them up airtight and freeze. When you’re ready to serve them, pop them back into the oven for 5-10 minutes to defrost and brown. You can also freeze fully baked baguettes after they’ve fully cooled. Just be sure they’re wrapped up nice and tight and plan to eat them within 1-2 weeks (more exposed surface area with these loaves means that they’ll stale relatively quickly). We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  41. Lani

    Hi, thanks so much for these bake along challenges! I have my dough in its first rise, but it’s a very wet dough. I weighed out the flour (420 g), and after it looked like it was a little too wet, let everything sit in my kitchenaid for maybe 10 minutes to see if that would help (it did, a little). I didn’t want to over knead it, and it looks fairly smooth, but it isn’t a defined ball like in your pictures – much more liquidy than that. It was sticking quite a bit to the bowl when I turned it out for the first rise. If anything, I kneaded in the machine (at speed 2) for more than 4 minutes total. Is this wrong?

    Reply
    1. Lani

      I just called your bakers hotline and the woman had me try stretching and folding the dough to give it more structure. I’m so grateful for the hotline! Thank you!

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lani, I see you got some assistance from our hotline. Glad they could help! PJH

  42. Diane Perris

    I made these today; sent a photo via Twitter.
    Absolutely incredible and I’ve never made baguettes before. Did the reduced yeast 3 hour rise recipe after letting the poolish sit for 12 hours, and let the baguettes cool in the oven. Crust is super crunchy, bread is open and airy. I can’t believe I made these. Used a $4 aluminum baking dish for the steam and also sprayed the baguettes with water once in the oven right when I put them in. Could NOT have done this without the KA videos on shaping and using the lame correctly, as well as the blog step by step photos. KA you are the best baking teachers, so generous with your time and expertise. I hope to someday actually make it out there for classes.

    Reply
  43. Lyn C

    All the BakeAlongs are great. Thank you in particular for this one! I finally solved the problems I so often have with baguettes. The discussion here was very useful even when my problems were different. Batch one, I confirmed I had been overproofing, but still not a good rise. The videos & your advice to go 1/2 inch with the slashes sent me to batch 2. And voila! wonderful, great crust, great crumb, wonderful, airy holes. Accolades from the eaters.

    One nit: in the step for proofing, there is an inconsistency between the first recommended timing and the 2nd longer one. The first says 90 minutes. The 2nd says 3 hours instead of two hours. So should the version using 1.5 teaspoons yeast be 90 or 180 minutes?

    And maybe these timings might be useful for folks using non-standard equipment. I use a Swedish Ankasrum Mixer. With dial set a little slower than medium, I kneaded for 7 minutes with the bread hook to get to the window pane state.
    I noted someone else with a steam oven. Mine is a Wolf. Their auto bake setting for bread steams for 7 minutes from a cold oven and then goes up to the higher temp. This is great for many breads but wasn’t for my baguettes. What worked: convection steam setting, preheated to 425 with steam on, baked bread 25 minutes, turning steam off after 7. The crust isn’t as dark and crusty as with the auto setting, but you get a great rise and golden crust much like the pictures here. Hope this is helpful for some of the bakers out there.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lyn thanks for noticing that — not a nitpick at all! I’ve clarified it; the dough using 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast should rise for 90 minutes, as written. And thanks for sharing your user-knowledge around both mixer and steam-injected oven. Sounds like you have a wonderful set-up. Glad this post spoke to you and helped you make some very satisfactory bread. 🙂 PJH

  44. Cathy

    I did this bake along and because I was trying to do several things at once I made a mistake with the timing of the second rise. The baguettes did come out although not as large as they should have been. they were tasty and a hit so when I do it right the next time I will be a rock star! thank you for the bake alongs! I am such a novice and enjoy learning new skills.
    cathy

    Reply
  45. Christopher Smith

    For the steam, I placed an 8×8 aluminum pan, with about 1 cup of water in it, in the oven when I turned it in. By he time the oven is up to temperature, it is nice and steamy. According to what I have read, you want the water to totally evaporate about 2/3 through the bake so adjust your water level accordingly.

    Reply
  46. Sandie

    This is a very easy recipe. I’ve made these twice and did a better job the second time. I use a baking stone with parchment to bake my baguettes. For steam this time I used an 8X8 aluminum pan for the water and was very pleased with the result.

    This is the second bake along challenge I’ve done and they are a lot of fun. Thank you KAF!

    Reply
  47. Donna Lambert

    I’m interested in making this bread. However, there are only 2 of us in my household. Can I make the dough, freeze some, then follow the recipe after it thaws?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Donna, we’re glad you’re going to try your hand at making baguettes. Like we’ve shared with some other eager baguette bakers, the unbaked dough may not rise or have the same structure if it’s frozen, so we recommend freezing the extra loaves after they’re baked. You’ll want to remove one or two loaves out of the oven 5 minutes early, when they’re still lighter in color. Once they’re fully cooled, wrap them up airtight and freeze. When you’re ready to serve them, pop them back into the oven for 5-10 minutes to defrost and brown. You can also freeze fully baked baguettes after they’ve fully cooled. Just be sure they’re wrapped up nice and tight and plan to eat them within 1-2 weeks (more exposed surface area with these loaves means that they’ll stale relatively quickly). We hope that helps! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there fellow blogger, we are happy to share baking tips. Please be sure to credit King Arthur Flour for any and all photo or article usage. Kye@KAF

  48. Pat

    I do not own a baking stone – it is on my wish list, but cannot afford one right now. Can I use regular large rectangle baking pan turned over? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You bet, Pat. That’s exactly what we recommend if you don’t have a stone. We hope your loved ones pay attention to your wish list. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  49. Annie

    Would it help to place my perforated baguette tray on top of the pizza stone?

    Also, should I place baking paper under my cast iron skillet to protect the oven floor?

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Annie. A baking stone under the baguette tray is perfectly fine; we’ve done so and it does nice things for the bottom crust. I don’t recommend putting parchment under the cast iron, because you’re putting something that can burn in very close contact to the heating element, which is just under the oven floor. As long as the cast iron pan isn’t rough on the bottom, it won’t hurt the enamel. If you’re still concerned, you can put the cast iron pan on the a rack on the lowest rung; the steam will still do its thing. Susan

  50. Carl

    I made this recipe over the weekend with King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. No adjustments and it came it out perfectly.

    Now if only I could learn to use that lame. I have the exact one pictured and it always drags against the dough. I never get a clean cut.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Carl, have you seen this video about how to slash a baguette? It illustrates the best angle to hold the lame and how vigorously to slash the dough; we’ll tell you it’s best to move swiftly to prevent snagging. Check out the clip and see if it helps improve your results next time. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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