Bread Challenge: French Baguette

Supermarket baguettes in New Zealand typically have a similar consistency as swimming noodles, yet these folks dare to call them “French sticks” (an insult to French people). Unfortunately, even the artisan bakers in our area follow a similar ideal.

Fortunately, our French woofer provided us with a very simple, but genius recipe. I’d consider that one of the easiest to make breads at all. It tastes delicious! :)

French Baguette:

500g White Flour (look for a high protein value, >10%, for elasticity)
10g Salt
10g Yeast (active dried yeast, not that yeast/flour/chemicals mixture they call “breadmaker yeast”)
320g Water (25-30°C warm, if you want to speed it up)

Key to success is to either knead the dough manually for at least 30 minutes, or with the help of a machine around 15-20 min, until it’s smooth and elastic. Then let it rest, covered, in the fridge over night, or for a few hours at room temperature instead.

We don’t have a baguette baking tray yet, so ours got a bit larger than it should have been, but that didn’t affect the taste at all.

Bake it at conventional top/bottom heat (no fan!) on a pizza/bread stone 15 min at 250°C and then another 15-25 min reduced to 220-230°C, with some water sprayed into the oven at start, plus a little tray with water next to it. That guarantees a great crust.

Great, cracking crust
Great, cracked crust
Excellent consistency
Excellent consistency and taste