Homemade French Baguettes

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 35 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 15 min
 
YIELD: 8 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 2 envelopes dry active yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Canola oil, for greasing bowl
  • Cornmeal, for dusting pan
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
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      Directions

      Combine the honey, yeast and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to combine and let the mixture stand until the yeast is activated and begins to foam, 5 minutes.

      Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl with a dough hook and slowly add in the yeast mixture. Gradually add 1 cup warm water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball that is not too wet (you may not need all of the water). If the dough is sticky, add a little bit more flour. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 2 to 6 minutes. You can do the thumbprint test: press in the dough with your thumb and it should bounce back when it's ready.

      Form the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a dishcloth, so it doesn't dry out. Let rest in a warm environment until doubled in size, 25 to 30 minutes.

      Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Shape into 2 baguettes by making a flat rectangle out of your dough, then folding the top and bottom towards the middle, like an envelope, and sealing the seam with your fingers. Keep repeating the folding and sealing, stretching the rectangle lengthwise as you go, until it's about 12 to 14 inches long and 2 inches wide. Fold and seal either end to round. Flip seam-side down and place on a sheet pan or baguette pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. Score the tops of the loaves, making deep diagonal slits 1/2-inch deep, cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm environment until they have doubled in size, 25 minutes.

      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and position your oven racks with one on the bottom and the other in the middle. Place an oven-safe (non-glass) bowl or pan on the bottom rack.

      When your bread has doubled for the second time, remove the towel and quickly and simultaneously, slide the sheet tray with the baguettes onto the middle rack while carefully throwing the ice cubes into the bowl on the bottom rack. The ice will create a burst of steam that will give you a nice crispy crust. Quickly shut the oven door so no steam escapes. Bake the baguettes until golden brown, 15 minutes.

      Cook's Note: If you have a glass window on your oven, place a towel over it when throwing the ice in, hot glass can shatter if ice touches it.

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      Newest Ratings and Reviews

      Read all 38 reviews

      • on April 04, 2014

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        I've become obsessed w/ baking my own bread so baguettes were on my list next to tackle. I agree that the bread tastes a bit yeasty when you eat the bread alone. In sandwiches, you can't really tell though. But this recipe is quite easy and the baguettes came out really well. The ice trick worked well making the crust crisp, but not hard and the inside of the bread was so soft & moist. Looking forward to making this again. Next time with a less yeast and longer rise times.

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      • on April 04, 2014

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        Just made this & it came out perfectly! I followed Kelsey's recipe exactly except I let the yeast activate 10mins instead of 5mins. I did the ice cube thing & glad I did because the outside came out nice & crispy, while the inside baked perfectly. This recipe will go into my "best ever French bread" book & I will be making it often. No "knead" to buy bread at the bakery anymore, this recipe is easy & the baguettes were fresh, warm & homemade. My family also appreciated the aroma in the house; nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread. Thanks Kelsey, you're awesome!

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      • on February 05, 2014

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        I've used other french bread recipes and am excited to try this one. I have the pans and want to use them. I watched the episodes and specifically the one where she made the bread and it looks like a professional bakery loaf. I am a big fan of Kelsey (was during Next Food Network Star show) and her recipes and instruction are so easy to follow.

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