Ed Baines shows how to make a good version of proper French bread without the benefit of a proper French bakery oven
By Ed Baines
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus rising time
  • Effort: medium


  • 920 g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 460 ml warm water
  • oil, for greasing

Tips and Suggestions

French baguettes are particularly crusty and light because they are cooked at extremely high temperatures. Even though domestic ovens aren't as hot as those in a French bakery, you can still make an excellent baguette by setting the oven to a high temperature and remembering to put a bowl of water in the oven.


1. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. In another bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water, and half of the flour-salt mixture. Use your hands to mix until it forms a dough.

2. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to sit at room temperature for 3 hours. It should triple in size.

3. Gently incorporate the rest of the flour-salt mixture into the risen dough, using your hands.

4. Knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 10 minutes. It should be supple and elastic when you stop kneading.

5. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough in it and cover with a tea towel. Allow to sit for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

6. Preheat the oven to 230C/gas 8. Knead the dough again, then cut it into three equal parts and shape each into a long cylinder or baguette.

7. Place the dough on a baking sheet and leave to stand for at least 20 minutes.

8. Fill a heatproof bowl with water and put it in the hot oven. Bake the baguettes for about 25 minutes (maybe less), removing the bowl of water after 15 minutes.

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