If you plan to make an authentic French baguette then you need to know that there are rules you have to follow… There are only four ingredients needed for this recipe: flour, yeast, salt, and water. That’s it, nothing more. This is how we made them at The Cordon Bleu, and they still do, to this day.
It’s a very simple recipe to pull together, and produces an awesome baguette. And the smell of that fresh baking bread is enough to drive you crazy (it does me).
Chef’s Note: I’ve never been a bread machine kind of baker. It’s not because they do not do a superb job at making bread; I just like be a part of the process. I think that kneading bread is one the most therapeutic things you can do.
Gather your ingredients.
Add the flour, yeast, and the salt to the bowl of a stand mixer.
Whisk to combine.
Add the bowl to a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and turn on low speed.
Slowly add the warm water.
Allow the ingredients to mix for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove bowl from the stand mixer, cover, and allow the mixture to rest for 2 to 3 hours.
Chef’s Tip: Place the bowl in a non-drafty corner of your kitchen.
Chef’s Note: The dough will still be very sticky.
Remove from the bowl, and place on a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough, using additional flour until the dough is elastic.
Chef’s Note: Depending on humidity, and other conditions, you could need 1/2 cup or more flour for this process.
Shape 6 ounce portions of the dough into cylinders about 6 to 8 inches in length, and place on a baking sheet fitted with a piece of parchment paper, or into a bread baking rack.
Place in a non-drafty place in your kitchen and allow the dough to rise until they triple in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Place a pie plate of water in the lower rack of your oven.
Place another rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 420f (215c).
Chef’s Tip: The steaming water will help to make the baguette nice and crispy.
Use a sharp knife or a lame to slice diagonal cuts through the top of the dough.
Place the baguettes into the preheated oven, and bake until they are golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Allow the baguettes to rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
Serve with a nice bowl or soup, or cut them open and fill them with your favorite sandwich goodies. Enjoy.