Easy Homemade Baguettes stacked two high and one sliced with butter in the foreground.

Homemade bread is easy!

Glorious, chewy, crusty bread is at your fingertips with these Easy Homemade Baguettes. The recipe is credited to Dan Leader’s 4-hour Baguette and I’ve done little to alter the recipe other than reducing the amount of salt and put it in my own words. Many types of bread can be made within 4 hours, so you may be wondering why this recipe is anything special. A traditional French Baguette starts with some kind of “starter” usually consisting of a partial amount of the flour, water and yeast. This starter is left to ferment for many hours and often overnight, making it a lengthy process. The benefit of using a starter is to promote more flavour and a better texture. Dan Leader’s 4-hour Baguette is a wonderful recipe because it creates a similar result in much less time.

Dough rising in a glass bowl for Easy Homemade Baguettes

Dan Leader does this in a couple of ways. The first being the delayed addition of the salt. The salt is added after the dough has rested and hydrated. Salt inhibits yeast growth, so by adding it at a later stage allows the yeast to develop better, creating more flavour. The second is an additional rise after folding the dough. The folding helps to stretch out the gluten strands and therefore helps to create a nice texture. The additional rise also helps with yeast development and better flavour.

Dough resting and rising on a wooden board with a bench scraper in the background.
Baguette dough rising in a metal baguette pan on a linen kitchen towel.

Adding ice to a hot pan placed below the baking rack will ensure a lovely crust on your baguettes by allowing the dough to rise fully before a crust forms.

Food 52 calls this a genius recipe and I can see why. A few deliberate actions in the recipe saves a whole lot of time and produces wonderful results. If you love homemade bread, this recipe is a must try. Enjoy!

Three Easy Homemade Baguettes are baked golden and resting on a wooden board with a linen kitchen towel.

Three Easy Homemade Baguettes are baked golden and resting on a wooden board with a linen kitchen towel.
Easy Homemade Baguettes
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    3 baguettes 4 hours
    Cook Time
    25 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    3 baguettes 4 hours
    Cook Time
    25 minutes
    Three Easy Homemade Baguettes are baked golden and resting on a wooden board with a linen kitchen towel.
    Easy Homemade Baguettes
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      3 baguettes 4 hours
      Cook Time
      25 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      3 baguettes 4 hours
      Cook Time
      25 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: baguettes
      Instructions
      1. In a large bowl stir together water and yeast and allow to ferment for about 10 minutes until foamy.
      2. Add 2 3/4 cups of flour and stir until moisture is absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
      3. Flour your work surface with a sprinkle of the remaining flour. Dump out dough onto your work surface and sprinkle with salt and a tablespoon of flour to knead the dough without it being too sticky. Continue kneading the dough and adding flour by the tablespoon until dough is smooth but still a little tacky, about 8 minutes. Using a bench scraper to lift the dough off the counter helps until it becomes less sticky. The exact amount of flour is dependant on your working conditions and existing moisture in the flour you are using.
      4. Place dough in a large lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for 60 minutes until double in size.
      5. Remove dough to your work surface and using your fingers push and spread dough to remove air pockets and to shape into an approximate 8"x 6" rectangle. Fold the long sides of the dough into the centre and then fold the top and bottom into the centre. Place the folded dough back into the bowl, seam side down. Cover and allow to rise for 60 minutes.
      6. Preheat oven to 475℉ and place a heatproof pan or cast iron skillet on the rack below your centre baking rack. If using a baking stone, place it in the oven to preheat as well.
      7. Divide dough into 3 equal portions and roll each into an approximate 14" log. Allowing the dough to rest for 60-second pauses between rolling will help the dough relax and hold its shape when rolled. Place shaped logs onto a baguette pan. Alternatively, you can lay logs onto lightly floured parchment that sits on a rimless baking tray. Leave enough space between the logs to pinch the parchment and lift up, creating pleats between the logs. Place rolled kitchen towels on both ends of the parchment to provide support. Cover and allow to rise for 50 minutes.
      8. Using a sharp knife or bread lame, make at least four 4" slashes across each loaf. Add ice cubes to the hot pan in the oven and place baguettes on centre rack above. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden and baguettes sound hollow when tapped. If using parchment, remove towels and pull parchment by the corners to flatten. Place pan in the oven as indicated above onto your preheated baking stone or simply on the middle rack if not using a stone.
      Recipe Notes

      -The exact amount of flour needed is dependent on many factors such as humidity and type of flour. Keep a small portion of flour aside and add by the tablespoon until the dough is smooth yet still tacky.  By all means, use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead the dough if desired.

      -Use an upside-down baking tray if you do not have a rimless one.

      -A baguette pan is an inexpensive investment that allows the loaves to brown evenly on all sides.

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