Okay, I should call these “Quick Baguettes” because true French baguettes require a very long overnight rise time. If you have that kind of time, here is a good French Baguette recipe. Great for sandwiches, side dishes and soups!
As for me and my house…. we will be making fast baguettes. 🙂 These are super delicious and super easy – especially when you have a bread machine. You can make them without a bread machine as well! The kids and hubby LOVED these baguettes. They didn’t have a super hard crust on them like some baguettes do. They were nice and soft and chewy. Plus…. there is the fact that all-purpose flour tastes like CANDY after eating 100% whole wheat for the past 7 years.
Why make your own? There are only 4 ingredients. No preservatives, no caramel color, no polysorbate 60, no anything but flour, water, yeast and salt. If you have those things in your pantry, then you CAN make these. This is a great yeast recipe to start out on.
Tips for Yeast Bread Making (or any baking!):
1. Preheat the oven 25 degrees higher than baking temperature. This is because once you open the oven, it will reduce in temperature anyway. Preheating higher allows for more initial “spring” in the baking process.
2. Test your yeast if you aren’t 100% positive it is alive. It is a bummer to wait 2 hours and find out right before dinner that the yeast was dead. To test the yeast, I use active dry yeast. I add the yeast, water and a little bit of sugar if the recipe calls for no sugar. If the recipe does call for sugar, like a pizza dough, then simply add the sugary substance to the water and yeast. After 5 minutes, you should see a little foam on top telling you the yeast is burping carbon dioxide and alive!
3. Weigh your flour. On a scale. And pay attention to the author of the recipe. King Arthur Flour thinks that AP flour weighs 4.25 ounces per cup and scales their recipes based on that. America’s Test Kitchen think s that AP flour weighs 5 ounces per cup. Most places and most recipes will yield 5 ounces per cup of all purpose flour. King Arthur Flour weighs and scoops their flour differently.
4. For a shiny crust, brush a mixture of 1 egg and 1 Tb. of water on top before baking. It will be a little crisper, too.
5. Pay attention to the bread more than the time! Sometimes bread can get a little crazy and proof too fast. Just look at it once in a while.
6. I like active dry yeast. I’m not patient and neither is this yeast. It is fast and great for bread machines or bread that you need made in 2 hours or less.
Ok, really…. The reason I made my own baguettes is because I was too lazy to go to the store and buy sandwich bread for the Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches.
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 and ¼ tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 3 cups (15 oz.) all purpose flour (plus more on hand)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- For bread machine: Throw everything into the machine per the machine's directions and hit "dough cycle". Shape the resulting dough into 2 or 4 logs. Make shallow diagonal slashes on the top. Cover with plastic and preheat the oven to 400. Once up to temperature - reduce the oven to 375 degrees and bake the bread for 15-25 minutes.
- For by hand: Add yeast to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. I would recommend adding a pinch of sugar too if you are not sure that the yeast is alive. If bubbles form on the surface because they ate the sugar, the yeast is alive.
- Add flour and salt. Mix together by hand or in a mixer with the paddle attachment.
- When combined, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. (or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes). Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Rise 1 hour or until doubled.
- Punch down the dough and break into 2 or 4 pieces. Roll into a log about 6" long for 4 baguettes. Use a serrated knife to slash 2 to 4 shallow slices on the top diagonally.
- Place baguettes on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or silicone. Or on a baking stone. Cover back up with plastic wrap and rise another 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees while the bread rises.
- Remove the plastic wrap and REDUCE THE OVEN to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on if you made 4 small ones or 2 big ones).
*For a pretty and shiny crust, brush the top right before baking with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1 Tb. water.