Simple Baguettes: A Tutorial

Secrets to French Baguettes

Secrets to French Baguettes

We've got a partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen. They'll be sharing some of their time-tested recipes and technical expertise with us weekly. Here, the simple baguette is adapted for the home oven.

When we set out to create a simple baguette recipe that could be prepared in a home kitchen, the test kitchen was divided. Everyone agreed that it should have a deep golden crust and an open, airy texture. Where we parted ways was on the question of whether you could actually create an outstanding baguette at home in a regular oven. Some were skeptical, but we were determined.

During the development process, we did find that there were just some things that couldn’t be simplified. First, to get the right flavor we needed to use a sponge. This mixture of flour, water, and yeast develops a full range of unique flavors that improves the longer it sits. We also had to put in some work to find the best oven temperature. Unlike many other rustic breads, baguettes cannot be baked in a super-hot oven, or else they form a crust before fully expanding. Putting baguettes in a 500-degree oven and then immediately lowering the oven to 425 degrees gave us a perfectly crisp crust and moist crumb—and won over the skeptics.

See the baguette recipe, as well as step-by-step instructions when you read on.