Traditional French Baguette Recipe
Ingredients for baguette:
Makes a large 700g (baked weight) loaf
- 500g Farine CRC T80 (French T80 Stoneground White Flour)
- 350g water, about 25C
- 100g active sourdough, mixed at 1:1 flour to water
- Optional 0.5g - 1g fast action yeast, like Saf Levure Active Dried Yeast
- 10g salt, like Sea Salt Original Crystals
A recipe by Dan Lepard. A crisp home-baked baguette, one that has the complex flavour and character and crunch that you usually have to travel to France for is a dream for many bakers. Now of course today you can make great baguettes with your local bread flour wherever you live, I’m sure of that, but the particular characteristics millers in France give to their premium darker bread flours by the wheat varieties they mill gives the resulting bread a deep rich crust colour, a delicate beige crumb and an almost brittle crackle to the crust.
Now with BakeryBits you can achieve this with one of France’s most esteemed millers, Moulin Foricher by using their range of T80 “Tourte de Meule” flours. These flours have part of the wholegrain finely milled through, so they behave a little like wholewheat flour but have a much lighter texture and a beautiful pale beige colour. Best for medium rather than very long fermentation, T80 delivers a much bolder flavour and a delicate crumb texture. Also they’re excellent for mixing with your favourite white bread flour to give more character to the crumb. Years ago in the 90s I was utterly obsessed with T80 flour that, for a few decades, was difficult to buy in the UK. Now, thanks to BakeryBits you can use it too.
Here I’ve used it for a simple yeasted baguette, using 70% water to flour (plus whatever liquid your sourdough adds). If you don't have a sourdough starter then the night before mix a ferment with 50g flour, 50g water and the 1g yeast together, cover and leave overnight: then continue with the recipe as written but use this ferment in place of both the yeast and sourdough in the recipe.
- Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the water and mix together evenly. Leave this for 30-60 minutes at room temperature, cover the bowl if the room air is dry and liable to form a crust on the dough.
- Pour in the sourdough, together with the yeast if using (dissolved in 10g water first) and mix everything together smoothly.
- Leave to rise for a few hours at a cool room temperature (21C) for 2 – 3 hours until it starts to puff slightly then chill for 6 – 8 hours to develop the flavour and slow down the rise.
- Divide the dough into quarters (about 240g each) and shape these into rounds while cold. Place these on a tray, cover and leave to rise slightly at room temperature for an hour.
- Have a BakeryBits Heavy Duty Couche Proofing Linen for Baguettes ready rubbed with flour, as this will provide support for the soft baguette dough as it rises.
- Dust the worktop with flour and shape the pieces into baguettes. Place these seam-side upward on the floured couche, then cover and leave at room temperature to rise by half. I don’t recommend refrigerating the baguettes overnight as the T80 doesn’t have the strength to cope with very long fermentation.
- Heat the oven to 220C, and have your Challenger Bread Pan ready and a Flipping Board (Planchette à Pain) to move the baguette dough from the couche to the bread pan. If you don’t have either you can bake your baguettes simply on an oven tray and use a long piece of sturdy cardboard to transfer the baguette dough to the tray.
- Place the planchette along the length of the couche and flip the dough onto it (by pinching the couche’s fabric and tipping the baguette onto the board). Then place this on the base of the preheated Challenger Bread Pan, place the lid on and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the top off the bread pan and bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes until golden. Then bake the remaining baguettes.
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