How to make baguette French bread

A freshly baked baguette is the most popular accessory in France and is worn tucked under the arm by high-flying executives, farm workers, students and housewives alike!  Boulangeries are always the most popular shops and there is always a queue of people unable to resist the smell of fresh baked baguettes and croissants!

Making your own baguette is easier than you think and of course they are perfect for all meals of the day and can be served filled or as with ham and cheese or as a tasty side to a wide range of dishes.

Ingredients

  • 2½ teacups of plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 1 teacup of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tablespoon water

Preparation and directions

  1. If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook, this is perfect. If not, you can make the dough by hand, but you will need to knead it for longer.
  2. In the mixer bowl, place the flour, sugar, and yeast and mix well. Add the water and knead with a dough hook for about five minutes until the dough is smooth or knead with damp hands for about ten minutes.
  3. Cover bowl with damp tea towel and leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Make a hollow in the dough and pour the salt in. Knead the dough for another few minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with the tea towel again and place somewhere warm for 30 minutes for the dough to ‘prove’ and double in size.
  6. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Divide the dough in half and roll the first half into a rectangle measuring 20cm X 30cm. Starting with the longer side, roll the rectangle up tightly. When you have done this, pinch both ends into a tapered shape. Repeat with the second piece of dough.  
  7. Place the two loaves well apart on a baking sheet lined with cooking parchment. Make diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf – the cuts should go halfway through the dough Cover with the damp tea towel again and return to the warm place to rise for 45 minutes.
  8. Whilst the loaves are rising, heat the oven to 180ºC.
  9. When the loaves are ready to bake, brush them with egg white. Bake the loaves for 25 minutes until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Allow to cool for five minutes before serving.