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French Baguette Recipe

Crusty French baguettes go perfectly with your favorite meal. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these loaves will allow you to soak up extra sauce or gravy, scoop up your favorite salad, or enhance your ho-hum sandwich. And with minimal prep time and a 15 minute bake time, they are a great option for a weekend day where you want to spend a little time in the kitchen for really big results.

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French Baguette , baguette

 

What is a French baguette? 

A French baguette is a long loaf of bread made with simple ingredients including flour, yeast, and water. They are a simple white bread with a soft interior and crispy crust.

They pair well with soups, pastas, or any dish that you want to soak up all the flavors easily. Of course, they also make a great sandwich base for your favorite recipe.

French baguette Video Recipe

Why you’ll love this recipe

Our easy to make French baguettes cook up crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are the perfect compliment to pretty much any dinner or lunch. 

Also, we use the Instant Pot to let the dough rise. This takes a lot of the guesswork out and creates the perfect environment for the dough.

You also don’t need any special equipment for this recipe. You can make the baguettes by hand, and they will bake up in the shape you make without any issues.

French Baguette , baguette

French Baguette Ingredients

One of the nice things about baguettes is you really only need a few ingredients. And you probably have most of them on hand anyway, especially if you do a lot of baking.

  • Quick rise yeast - You can use either the packets or loose yeast, whichever you prefer.
  • Very warm water - For proofing yeast, the best temperature to use is between 105 and 120 degrees F. Too much warmer or colder will either kill or not be enough to allow the yeast to activate.
  • Sugar - You need the sugar to “feed” the yeast. In a pinch, you could use honey since that will also allow the yeast to get the nutrients it needs to activate.
  • Oil - will help prevent the dough from sticking or drying out.
  • Salt-  a must!
  • Flour- unbleached flour works well

How to make a French baguette

Here’s what you need to do to make these delicious loaves.

Mix and knead the dough

Crusty French Baguette step by step instructions

  • First, stir to combine the sugar, yeast, and 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. You’ll need to proof the yeast, which means letting it sit for about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam. If it does not foam, you’ll need to try again with fresh yeast.
  • Get out your stand mixer and mix the flour and salt with a dough hook and then slowly add in the yeast mixture. Gradually add 1 cup of warm water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball that is not too wet. If the dough is sticky, add a little bit more flour.

Crusty French Baguette step by step instructions

  • Once the dough has formed, turn the mixer's speed up a little and let the mixer knead for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a dough hook attachment, you can knead by hand on a floured surface.
  • To check the dough, you can do the thumbprint test where you press in the dough with your thumb and watch to see if it bounces back. If it does, it is ready to go.

Allow the dough to rise and form the loaves

Crusty French Baguette step by step instructions (2)

  • Next, lightly-oil the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball and then transfer it to the inner pot. Roll the dough in the oil. This will help prevent it from sticking or drying out.
  • Once the dough is ready, cover the Instant Pot with a glass lid or the regular Instant Pot lid. Use the yogurt function and set it for 1 hour to allow the dough to rise. 
  • If your Instant Pot does not have a yogurt function, you can let it rise in a large, oiled bowl. Follow the same basic steps, rolling the dough in the oil, and then place a towel over the top of the bowl. Leave the bowl in a warm location, near your oven or away from any drafts. 
  • The dough is ready when it roughly doubles in size.
  • Once the dough is ready, punch down the dough before removing it from the Instant Pot.

Crusty French Baguette step by step instructions (2)

  • Next, divide it in half and then shape into 2 baguettes. To do this, make a flat rectangle out of the dough and then fold the top and bottom towards the middle, like an envelope. Finally, seal the seam with your fingers. 
  • Keep repeating the folding and sealing, stretching the rectangle lengthwise as you go, until it's about 12 to 15 inches long and 2 inches wide.
  • Next, flip the seam-side down and place on a sheet pan or baguette pan. Next, score the tops of the loaves, making deep diagonal slits about 1/2-inch deep. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm environment until they have doubled in size, which will be around 30 minutes.

Bake the bread

Crusty French Baguette step by step instructions

  • Before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • When the oven is hot, place the tray with the baguettes onto the middle rack and bake them at 425 F. When you place the baguettes in the oven, carefully place a pan with ice cubes on the bottom rack. The ice will melt and create a burst of steam that will give the baguettes a nice crispy crust.
  • The baguettes will need to bake for about 15 minutes or until they turn a golden brown color. Once they are ready, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  • You can serve the bread with your favorite marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, herb infused extra virgin olive oil, or as a part of a delicious sandwich.

French Baguette , baguette

Pro tips and tricks

When you make these baguettes, follow these helpful tips for the best results:

  • Place an oven safe tray on the bottom rack filled with ice cubes. The ice cubes will create a burst of steam, which will cause the baguettes to get a nice, crispy outside.
  • Don’t forget to proof the yeast. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting an hour for dough to rise and nothing happening. Yeast is working and active if it foams in the water, if not, start with a fresh batch of yeast.
  • Use the Instant Pot’s yogurt mode for best results with the dough rising. The Instant Pot creates a uniform temperature ideal for yeast to grow and expand.

What can I use if I don't have a baguette pan?

No, you don’t need any special equipment or gadgets for this recipe. Well, except the Instant Pot to help the dough rise. 

But to form the dough, you just need to fold it over and stretch it out by hand. The baguettes may not be perfectly shaped, but they will hold their form as they bake.

If you want a perfectly shaped baguette, you can always get a baguette pan, but this is not necessary.

Crusty French Baguette

What is the difference between a baguette and French bread?

Baguette literally translates into “stick.” It is also the most commonly thought of French bread, particularly in the United States.

Strictly speaking, though, there is no defined definition of baguette. The basic ingredients tend to be flour, yeast, and water. But you can make a baguette with sourdough or other dough variations based on personal preferences.

You can also make hand shaped loaves (like we do) or use a baguette pan to bake more perfectly shaped versions. 

Probably the most traditional, French version uses simple white flour and yeast to create the baguette while non-French baguettes may use other flours or flavors.

French Baguette , baguette

How do you store a baguette?

Once the baguettes are baked, allow them to cool completely. When they are cool, tightly wrap each loaf in cling or plastic wrap. You can then store them on the counter until you are ready to use them.

If they start to go stale, don’t worry! You can use them to make French toast or cut them up and bake them for a few minutes to make homemade croutons for your favorite salads or soup!

What do you serve with a French baguette?

French baguettes make the perfect side dish for just about any dinner or lunch. Or you can serve them as the base of your favorite sandwich. 

It pairs great with Italian inspired meals, like our Minestrone Soup recipe or our Cacio e Pepe recipe. But really, you can pair it with just about any meal that has sauce or gravy that you want to soak up so you get all the flavor of the dish.

French Baguette , baguette

Can you freeze a baguette?

Yes, you can freeze the baguettes. To freeze, allow them to cool completely. Once cool, wrap them in a paper towel and then tightly wrap with plastic or cling wrap. Place the wrapped bread in a freezer safe bag and then store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To thaw, place them on the counter top overnight. You may want to warm them in the oven when you are ready to serve to help give them a fresh flavor again.

Crusty French Baguette

More Yeast Bread Recipes You'll Love

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Let us know what you think

If you make this delicious recipe, let us know how it went! When you make this, be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

Crusty French Baguette

French Baguette

Yield: 2 loafs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Crusty French baguettes go perfectly with your favorite meal. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these loaves will allow you to soak up extra sauce or gravy, scoop up your favorite salad, or enhance your ho-hum sandwich. And with minimal prep time and a 15 minute bake time, they are a great option for a weekend day where you want to spend a little time in the kitchen for really big results.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Quick Rise Yeast
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 1/4 cup very warm water (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Instructions

Mix and knead the dough

  1. First, stir to combine the sugar, yeast, and 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. You’ll need to proof the yeast, which means letting it sit for about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam. If it does not foam, you’ll need to try again with fresh yeast.
  2. Get out your stand mixer and mix the flour and salt with a dough hook and then slowly add in the yeast mixture. Gradually add 1 cup of warm water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball that is not too wet. If the dough is sticky, add a little bit more flour.
  3. Once the dough has formed, turn the mixer's speed up a little and let the mixer knead for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a dough hook attachment, you can knead by hand on a floured surface.
  4. To check the dough, you can do the thumbprint test where you press in the dough with your thumb and watch to see if it bounces back. If it does, it is ready to go.

 
Allow the dough to rise and form the loaves

  1. Next, lightly-oil the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball and then transfer it to the inner pot. Roll the dough in the oil. This will help prevent it from sticking or drying out.
  2. Once the dough is ready, cover the Instant Pot with a glass lid or the regular Instant Pot lid. Use the yogurt function and set it for 1 hour to allow the dough to rise. 
  3. If your Instant Pot does not have a yogurt function, you can let it rise in a large, oiled bowl. Follow the same basic steps, rolling the dough in the oil, and then place a towel over the top of the bowl. Leave the bowl in a warm location, near your oven or away from any drafts. 
  4. The dough is ready when it roughly doubles in size.
  5. Once the dough is ready, punch down the dough before removing it from the Instant Pot.
  6. Next, divide it in half and then shape into 2 baguettes. To do this, make a flat rectangle out of the dough and then fold the top and bottom towards the middle, like an envelope. Finally, seal the seam with your fingers. 
  7. Keep repeating the folding and sealing, stretching the rectangle lengthwise as you go, until it's about 12 to 15 inches long and 2 inches wide.
  8. Next, flip the seam-side down and place on a sheet pan or baguette pan. Next, score the tops of the loaves, making deep diagonal slits about 1/2-inch deep. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm environment until they have doubled in size, which will be around 30 minutes.

Bake the bread

  1. Before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. When the oven is hot, place the tray with the baguettes onto the middle rack and bake them at 425 F. When you place the baguettes in the oven, carefully place a pan with ice cubes on the bottom rack. The ice will melt and create a burst of steam that will give the baguettes a nice crispy crust.
  3. The baguettes will need to bake for about 15 minutes or until they turn a golden brown color. Once they are ready, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  4. You can serve the bread with your favorite marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, herb infused extra virgin olive oil, or as a part of a delicious sandwich.

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Tristin

Friday 22nd of October 2021

All the great tips helped me make the best French Baguette! Thanks for such a great recipe!

Angela

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Homemade bread isn't as hard as you think it will be. Thanks for the great recipe. My baguettes came out wonderfully.

Kushigalu

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Baguette is our all time favourite. Yours look perfect. I will try this way soon.

Toni

Friday 22nd of October 2021

I love how easy this is to make! Thanks for the recipe!

Amanda Wren-Grimwood

Friday 22nd of October 2021

I've never made baguettes before before the instructions are very detailed and easy to follow. I love the tip about using the steam to get the crust!

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