About 20 years ago I screwed up a bread recipe. It didn’t rise as it should have and what came out of the oven was a brick. Fear of repeating that failure kept me from using flour for anything other than a sauce thickener.
But YouTube videos and blogs recently convinced me to give it another try and after a few minor stumbles I’ve landed on a really great recipe for making crusty delicious French-style baguettes at home.
This recipe is all technique and John Kirkwood, an apparently retired chef, posted what I believe is the easiest to understand and follow set of instructions on YouTube. The recipe I’m posting here makes little mention of technique so you’ll need to watch his video (embedded in recipe). What I’ve done is converted his measurements from Imperial and metric to US; I’ve baked this recipe many many times and we all love it!
John posted this video in early 2017 and apparently it went some months with very few views. Then it started blowing up and as of the date of this posting the video has 1.4M views, up more than 100,000 in just a few weeks. Feel free to view the video in YouTube and post a comment. John’s pretty good about Replying.
Easy But Time-Consuming
For this recipe, the ingredients are few and the effort is relatively minor, however, there’s no substitute for time. To get the right acidity in the bread and the airy dough you have to have enough time for the live yeast to do its thing. From beginning to end this will take about four hours — most of that spent waiting for the bread to proof or rest. So find a good show to binge.
Get these things and you’ll be able to whip out amazing baguettes every time:
- Digital Scale (I got one at WalMart for right at $20)
- Plastic Scraper
- Wooden Spoon (I use a stand mixer instead but John uses then handle of a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients)
- Large Bowl
- Cling Wrap
- Damp Hand Towel
- Cotton Pillow Case
- Baker’s Couche (if you don’t have or know what this is, the pillow case will suffice, as John demonstrates in the video)
Here’s the recipe (in US units):
- 1lb. 8.7 oz. Bread Flour
- 1¼ Tsp. Instant Yeast
- 1¼ Tsp. Table Salt (or 1¾ Tsp. Kosher Salt)
- 1lb. 2.3 oz. Cool Water