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Easy French Bread Baguettes

Isn’t this baguette pretty? I really enjoy baking bread, but I don’t get to do it too much. These loaves were my first try at making baguettes.

I have to admit that I am intimidated by recipes that call for making a sponge days in advance – and don’t get me started on how terrifying saking sourdough from scratch is. I tend to stick with recipes that involve one or two non-scary rises. I searched through the recipes at AllRecipes until I found this one for French Bread. It sounded easy and got good reviews. It turned out to be chewy with a nice, though not terribly thick, crisp crust. It only took 5 cups of flour, and I substituted one cup of all purpose flour with one cup of white whole wheat flour, and I couldn’t even taste the change.

Easy French Bread

5 cups all purpopse flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Put yeast in 1/4 cup of the water (with a pinch of sugar) for 5-10 minutes, until foamy. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour and salt. Stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Gently deflate the dough and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up tightly, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends and pinch to seal.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and brush on loaves. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and crusty.

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  • Emily
    January 27, 2005

    whoa.. homemade baguettes! they look beautiful though.. and they sound delightful. the recipe sounds quite easy too.. i’m always scared of bread baking too though.. hehe

  • Nic
    January 28, 2005

    Oh thank you Emily. This is a good recipe to try, since it is really basic. You could always try forming the dough into loaves, for an even easier bread.

  • ejm
    January 31, 2005

    Your bread looks good! I would be inclined to bake at a higher oven temperature (but that’s just me). I usually preheat the oven to as high as it will go and then spray the loaf with water just before the bread goes in the oven. When it goes in, I turn the oven down to 400F and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn it around and bake 15 more minutes or until the bread really sounds hollow on the bottom.

    I love bread that calls for making a sponge in advance! There is something so amazing about taking a few minutes the night before making bread stirring a bowl of glop, covering it with one of those plastic shower hat like things and leaving it in a cool place overnight (our kitchen in the winter, the fridge in the summer) I can never get over how bubbly the sponge is the next day even after being in the fridge! One of my favourite bread recipes actually calls for TWO pre-ferments! (Warning, it isn’t for the faint hearted because the dough is pretty slack. But it’s worth it!!)


  • Nic
    January 31, 2005

    Next time I’m baking bread,I’ll have to try your recipe. It doesn’t sound too intimidating! Of course, I’ll probably feel differently when staring down at a porridge-like dough. =)

  • Manang
    September 30, 2006

    hi, I saw your link through purplegirl’s comment section. I am so interested to try this recipe, as I am sure my husband would love it!

  • cherry
    October 26, 2008

    how much grams is 1 package of dry yeast? and how much is 1 cup in grams? thanks

  • Anna
    April 12, 2010


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