This crusty homemade French Bread recipe can be made without any special baking pans or shaping equipment. It’s crusty on the outside thanks to a last minute brushing with a wet pastry brush, which works better than spraying with a spray bottle.
I grow onions in my garden and as soon as they’re ready to harvest, I want to make French onion soup with my own homemade baguettes. I’ve got to keep up with the freshness of the onions!
They’re very simple with few ingredients. I like to make them with only a little bit of yeast so they take a little long to proof, but have a wonderful flavor. I also have my own unique way of shaping and baking them without a special baguette pan. You can watch the video demonstration of the recipe to see how to shape the loaves my special way.
If you want to try making them, you’ll need a cookie sheet and three oblong boxes like the kind that foil and wraps come in and also a piece of parchment paper — so there’s one of your boxes. Using the Dome Dough Maker for kneading helps too.
I brush them with water before baking for that special French bread crustiness. They come out puffy and delicious with a golden crispy crust. The recipe makes two loaves.
12 oz of water (1½ cups)
.05 oz of yeast (½ tsp)
.30 oz of salt (1½ tsp)
16 oz of all purpose flour (3 1/3 cups)
- Add the water, yeast, and salt to a mixing bowl. Stir it well.
- Stir in the flour until consistently wet. Scrape in all the flour that clings to the bowl.
- Next autolyse the dough by allowing the mixture to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Knead by spreading the dough with the dome to stretch and align the gluten. Turn the bowl so the spreading is done in all directions. Do this about a dozen times.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a beeswax cover to keep the dough from forming a skin.
- Allow the dough to proof for at least two hours. It should be doubled in volume. This dough can also be left for many hours longer, if that suits your schedule better. A longer proofing will even enhance the flavor of the bread.
- To shape the dough into baguettes, place flour on a work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Each of these will be shaped into a thick rope about 12 inches long. The neatest way to do this is to smush the dough piece into a ball, then flatten and stretch it out into a rectangle about 10 or so inches long. Fold the top and bottom long sides to the center to make a thick rope and lightly roll the dough to stretch it into a rope about a foot long. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
- To maintain a baguette shape while the dough proofs, place three oblong boxes — the kind that plastic wraps and foils come in – inside a baking pan (cookie sheet) (mine is 11” x 17”). Place a generous piece of parchment paper over the three boxes. Then place one baguette on the parchment paper to fit in the space between the center box and a side box. Adjust the parchment paper to make sure there will be enough parchment paper for the other baguette to sit on.
- Allow the baguettes to rise until tall and puffy — about an hour and a half, depending on room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 450° F when you anticipate the dough is 15 minutes or so away from being ready to bake.
- Place water in a small bowl and with a pastry brush, paint the baguettes with water. This will make a good crust on the loaves. Remove the side boxes and paint the sides of the loaves.
- Make four slashes with a sharp serrated knife on each baguette. Remove the central box and place the pan in the middle of the oven. Bake at 450° F for 30 to 35 minutes until the loaves are golden brown.
Watch my Video demonstration of this recipe.
Subscribe to this blog for more delicious recipes and videos
Learn more about the Dome Dough Maker