How to make the best French bread at home. Don't forget to check out my step by step photos and tips above!
Servings 4 baguettes
- 2 cups warm water about 110°F
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 5 1/2 cups bread flour AP will work but give you a softer bread. (660g)
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of your mixer and set aside for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
Add about 3 cups of flour to the mixture along with the salt and stir together with a spatula then begin mixing with the dough hook. Add the oil then add the remaining flour a half cup at a time. Mix on medium until the dough comes together in a ball. You can add up to half a cup of flour if the dough seems wet.
The dough is done when it springs back if pressed. Your stand mixer will knead the dough but you can always finish off by hand if desired. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour. The dough will double in size so use a large bowl.
Heat oven to 375F. For a nice crisp crust you need to create some steam. Place a pan on the lower rack of the oven before you turn it on then pour 3/4 a cup of hot water just after you add the bread in.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three or four equal pieces and roll into baguette-shaped cylinders. Place onto a baguette pan OR a baking sheet. Allow to rise once more for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.
Cut 3-4 diagonal slashes on each piece then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
- You'll know the dough has been kneaded enough when it springs back when pressed.
- A baguette pan allows your French bread to rise in uniform sized loaves but you can let them rise on a regular baking tray if you don't have one.
- Let the bread cool before slicing.
- A baker's lame (cutting blade) is a great way to make slashes into the bread without cutting too far down because they are extra sharp. You can use a sharp knife if you don't have one.
- If the dough seems too wet you can add up to 1/2 cup extra flour.
- Make sure your water is not too hot (it should be warm) or it'll stop your yeast from working.
- The above tip also applies to your environment, don't place the dough in direct sunlight or in a place that's too hot or it will affect the rising of the bread.
- For best results use a kitchen scale, baking is a science so too much or too little flour can drastically affect the end results. If you are using cups I recommend fluffing the flour in a bowl so it's less compact before spooning it into cups. Don't scoop it straight from the bag or jar as this is the easiest way to overpack your cup!
- Nutritional information is per French bread or baguette.
Calories: 678kcal | Carbohydrates: 131g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 882mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg