Sourdough Starter Baguettes Recipe

[Baguettes au levain]

When I started to bake bread on a weekly basis, I thought of baguettes as out-of-reach territory: I would bake the kind of loaves I love — a hearty crust (but not too dark at the bottom), an open crumb (but one that’s still tight enough to withstand a good spread of dairy or almond butter), great flavor from a slow fermentation, and a nutritious blend of organic flours — but I would always go and get my Piccola baguette from the Coquelicot bakery on place des Abbesses.

After a while though, having baked enough boules (round loaves) in a closed vessel (a pyrex cocotte in my case) to become really good friends with my starter, I decided to graduate to baking bread on a stone.

A baking stone is fantastic for bread-baking: it absorbs heat as the oven preheats and retains it even as you open and close the oven door, which prevents the temperature in the oven from dropping dramatically when you put in the loaves. Additionally, bread dough that is plopped on a very hot surface rises beautifully: instead of spreading out first, then rising up, it seems a lot more motivated to rise upward from the moment it hits the blazing hot stone (I would too).

My first loaves on the baking stone were free-form bâtards — elongated oval loaves — because it was easier to fit two of those on my square baking stone, and I noticed that the crumb was more open than what I got when baking boules. I made a few more of those, and then I thought, what are baguettes if not thin bâtards? And why didn’t I just make baguettes?

The baguettes one buys in French bakeries are rarely leavened with a natural starter, and when they are (baguette au levain), the starter is generally coupled with commercial yeast (it is worth asking). The flour that is used is a white wheat flour that often contains additives, and both of these characteristics account for their particularly light, aerated crumb.

What I wanted, on the other hand, was a baguette leavened with natural starter only, made with a blend of organic flours that included some partially whole wheat, so I knew I wouldn’t get quite the same texture, but it would be a baguette in its own right.

After reading the reports of fellow starter enthusiasts for tips, and watching a few shaping videos, I felt about ready.

And indeed, from the very first attempt, the result was squeal-worthy: a good oven spring had pulled the slashed slits wide open, the tips and crust were crunchy enough that, when squeezed, the baguettes let out that delightful crackling sound, the crumb felt springy and alive, it was full of holes of various sizes and, more important, fragrant and flavorful.

I have baked a number of batches since that day, and if I could bottle the feeling I get when I watch my baguettes rise through the oven door, then super-peel them out and listen to them chirp as they cool, I would pose a major threat to antidepressant manufacturers.

We do, however, continue to go out and buy baguettes from Coquelicot on a regular basis, especially when we have friends over: as tickling as it would be to serve a meal that’s homemade right down to the baguettes, it’s just not realistic for me to cook dinner and bake bread on the same day — not if I want to stay awake throughout the evening anyway. But home-baked bread makes quite an impression as a host(ess) gift, I’ve noticed, so that’s my favored way of sharing.

I should note that my baguettes are, in fact, demi-baguettes (half-baguettes), due to the limited width of my home oven. You can make them slimmer and call them ficelles or flûtes (literally, strings or flutes), if you prefer, dividing the dough into six rather than four pieces, but then you’ll have to bake them in batches, otherwise they won’t have enough elbow room for optimal air circulation. Conversely, you can divide the dough into just two pieces to make bâtards. In all cases, remember to adjust the baking time to the size of the loaves.

Because the dough needs to rest in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours, it means you can really make it work within your own schedule: I generally feed my starter in the morning on day 1, make the dough in the afternoon when the starter is ripe, then bake the baguettes in the morning or in the afternoon on day 2.

Baguettes

Sourdough Starter Baguettes Recipe

4 baguettes

Sourdough Starter Baguettes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) ripe "100%" natural starter* (see picture below)
  • 600 grams (21 ounces) wheat flour or a mix of flours (I use one third T65, one third T80, one third T110, i.e. a mix of white and partially whole wheat flours)
  • 400 grams (14 ounces) purified water
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gluten (optional, but useful if you're working with French flours, which tend to be on the soft -i.e. low-gluten -side; you'll find it in natural food stores)
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) sea salt (I use unrefined gray salt from Guérande)
  • Useful (but not mandatory) equipment:
  • a flexible dough scraper such as this one, this one or this one
  • a plastic shower cap (the kind you get in hotel bathrooms)
  • a dough cutter (you can use the straight edge of the dough scraper, but a dough cutter is sharper and more efficient)
  • a linen kitchen towel you will reserve for your bread-making (I bought mine in bulk at the Marché Saint-Pierre fabric store in Paris)
  • a square or rectangular baking stone (mine came with my oven and is a 35-cm [13-3/4-inch] square)
  • a pizza peel
  • a baker's blade

Instructions

    0. Day One: Check that your starter is ripe.
  1. Your starter is ready for use when it looks a little puffy and has some bubbles on the surface, but not too many; see picture below. In normal Paris weather conditions, my starter reaches this point about 6 hours after I've fed it its own weight in flour and its own weight in water. (I start with 65 grams starter and feed it 70 grams flour plus 70 grams water, which results in 205 grams ripe starter -the extra 5 grams account for what will stay on the sides of the bowl and on the spatula).
  2. 1. Day One: Prepare the dough.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flours, water, starter, and gluten if using, until the mixture forms a shaggy mass and all the flour is incorporated. (I stir by hand with the dough hook first, then run my KitchenAid mixer on speed 1 for 20 seconds, just until everything is combined; you could use a dough whisk or a simple wooden spoon.)
  4. Let the mixture sit for 20 to 40 minutes. This is the autolyse step: it allows the flour to absorb the water before the salt has a chance to draw it away.
  5. Add the salt, and knead with the dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes. If you're working by hand, and don't feel comfortable kneading such a shaggy dough on the counter, you can simply "fold" the dough over itself with a dough scraper, as demonstrated in this video, for about 7 minutes.
  6. 2. Day One to Two: Ferment the dough.
  7. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour. After an hour, fold the dough over itself (as demonstrated in this video) about a dozen times -this helps give oxygen to the yeasts in the dough, it develops the flavors and builds a well-structured crumb -and cover with the kitchen towel again.
  8. Let rest for 1 hour and fold again as above.
  9. (At this point, I transfer the dough to a different bowl -2 liters/quarts in capacity -because the bowl of my KitchenAid does not fit in my fridge, but this is optional.)
  10. Apply a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the dough, and a shower cap around the rim of the bowl. Push the shower cap down until it touches the plastic wrap -you want the cover to be somewhat airtight -and place the bowl in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. (Note: when I'm all done baking, I let the plastic wrap dry so I can shake off the little flakes of dough, and save the plastic wrap and the shower cap for use with my next loaf.)
  11. 3. Day Two: Shape the baguettes.
  12. Remove the bowl from the fridge; the dough should have about doubled in size.
  13. Remove the plastic wrap and replace it with the kitchen towel. Let the dough come back to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  14. Place a square or rectangular baking stone on the middle rack of your oven and preheat it to 300°C (570°F) or whatever the highest temperature setting is on your oven, for 30 minutes. If you don't have a baking stone, preheat the oven to 240°C (460°C) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  15. Have ready a well floured linen kitchen towel that you will reserve for this use (no need to wash it after baking; the more you flour and use it, the less it will stick).
  16. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface (I dust an old silicone baking mat heavily with flour). Divide it into four pieces of equal size; it's hard to get them to be identical, just do your best, or use a scale to adjust.
  17. Shape each piece into a log, as demonstrated in the first half of this video. This is called preshaping. Give the logs a short rest, 5 to 10 minutes.
  18. Roll each log on the counter to elongate their shape, but make them no longer than the width of your baking stone (or cookie sheet). After shaping each baguette, place it on the floured kitchen towel and pull the cloth up on each side to form a ridge that will support its shape (see picture below). Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for the remainder of the preheating.
  19. (Note: I normally try to get a "tighter" shaping of my loaves, but because I was taking step-by-step pictures, I seemed to get a slight case of stage fright.)
  20. 4. Day Two: Create steam in the oven.
  21. During the last 5 minutes of preheating, insert a rimmed baking sheet in the lowest rack of the oven, underneath the pizza stone. Bring about 360 ml (1 1/2 cups) water to the boil in the kettle.
  22. Just before you're ready to insert the baguettes in the oven, make sure you wear something with long sleeves and put on an oven mitt. Using a vessel with a pouring spout (such as a measuring jug), pour half of the boiling water into the rimmed baking sheet -it will sizzle and steam and it will be a bit scary -and close the oven door right away.
  23. This is to create a nice, steamy environment, to foster the formation of a nice crust. Be careful not to burn yourself as you do this -that is what the long sleeve and oven mitt are for -and keep kids and pets out of the kitchen for this step.
  24. (Shown below is my oven setup; the picture was taken after the baguettes were baked, which explains the presence of flour on the stone.)
  25. 5. Day Two: Slash and bake the baguettes.
  26. If you're using a baking stone, place 2 of the baguettes on a well-floured pizza peel; if you've noticed your baguettes are not quite all the same size, start with the two biggest ones. Slash each of them 3 times with a baker's blade or a sharp knife, working the blade at a 45° angle. Slide them onto the pizza stone, working quickly to prevent the heat and steam from escaping.
  27. Repeat with the 2 remaining baguettes. Pour the remaining water into the rimmed baking sheet, and lower the temperature to 220°C (430°F).
  28. If you don't have a baking stone, arrange the four baguettes on the prepared cookie sheet. Slash them as directed and insert into the middle rack of the oven. Pour the remaining water into the rimmed baking sheet, but don't lower the temperature.
  29. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rearranging them after 15 minutes so the ones at the front of the oven will be in the back and vice versa, until the baguettes are golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped at the bottom. If the color is good but they sound like they could use a little more baking, turn off the oven and leave the baguettes in for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  30. Transfer to a rack to cool for an hour before eating.
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  • http://pinchmysalt.com Nicole

    Your baguettes are absolutely beautiful! It’s time to refresh my starter and bake some bread. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://holdthebeef.blogspot.com Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    These look positively PERFECT. You are an absolute star :)

  • http://bewitchingkitchen.wordpress.com SallyBR

    Great job!!!!

    Now you are on the serious road for serious bread baking…

    I have Makanai’s baguette au levain on my list to make, just found her blog and already loved the first bread I tried from her site.

    Your baguettes look very professional, the crumb is perfect, the slashing superb!

  • http://breadmakingblog.breadexperience.com Cathy (breadexperience)

    Beautiful loaves and a great step-by-step breakdown. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://trainingtable.blogspot.com/ 12th Man Training Table

    Tried this not too long ago and they came up ugly but delicious. Just compared your steps to the version I was following. Same basic steps, but you’re just a little bit more intuitive, with clear demonstrations and idiot-proof explanations. Bravo!

  • http://www.makanaibio.com Flo Makanai

    Magnifiques! Bravo!!!
    Tu me donnes envie de foncer dans ma cuisine et de mettre une pâte en route…!

  • http://www.rowdychowgirl.wordpress.com The Rowdy Chowgirl

    Wow! I admire your dedication to the art of bread baking!

  • http://Http://alliwell.com Allison

    These look fabulous. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing your recipe & your enthusiasm.

  • http://www.misadventureswithandi.com Andi

    I long for baguettes from France all the time. That was my daily purchase for 3 years when I lived there. Thanks for the recipe I will try to recreate the experience at home!

  • http://syrupandhoney.typepad.com sarah @ syrupandhoney

    it sounds like my husband is on a similar bread-making journey. love reading about yours! i fully agree that bread is a wonderful hostess gift.

  • http://www.FoyUpdate.blogspot.com Foy Update – Garden. Cook. Write. Repeat.

    This is a great guide for getting in baguettes baking. I’ve been thinking about these for a while and like you I make rolls and round loaves, but I haven’t ventured into baguettes. I think with this guide I’ll have the confidence to try. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • http://www.scally.typepad.com pascale

    Amazing ! thanks a lot for all your explanation. Will use all your advices when I feel ready …

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    I agree with you, very few sadnesses can resist the satisfaction of baking your own bread, and the smell it produces (and the noises as it cools! you are right).

    I never tried baguette but the slow fermented home made round bread I make keeps very well for about a week, if not eaten before, so that is what I go for when I have guests for dinner. And my bread is started with dried ordinary yeast, natural sourdough should last even longer. It is true though that baguettes are fiddly, I never bought one that lasted well…

  • http://www.estouest.blog.lemonde.fr est

    very impressive Clotilde! well done. they look delicious… purchasing a baking stone might be my next step ;)

  • http://www.thegardenerseden.com Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

    I have become obsessed with bread making. But I fear the baguette. This tutorial may give me the necessary backbone – shall I try? I think so.
    Thank you so much…
    xo Michaela

  • http://scratch.typepad.com Rachelino

    OK, that’s it! I cannot take it anymore. Between your wonderfully photographed and resource-link-ful post on baguette and Zoe Francois’ latest post on mastering a basic recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day….I must make my own starter. And thank you for the idea of giving some finished loaves as a hostess gift!

  • http://www.storiesfromemona.com Maya

    Wow! Thank you so much for all the info, I’ve learned a lot from this post. The baguettes look absolutely delicious!

  • http://coolblackchef.co.uk Naimah

    I agree with you wholeheartedly; it sounds complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very satisfying to make. These look delicious, and I love sourdough!

    Naimah

  • http://buttercreambarbie.blogspot.com tia

    congrats they look wonderful! what a success!

  • http://www.whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com Gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com

    All right, all right, now you got me really motivated to start my own natural started. I was hesitant but have been making bread with active yeast… and with some success. But nothing in comparison to what you are achieving (OK, I no pro, just doing it for leisure).
    But ces baguettes, vues de Philadelphie, font vraiment envie!

  • http://www.georgiapellegrini.com Georgia.Pellegrini

    Sourdough has always been my favorite bread but making it from scratch has always seemed so daunting. Thank you for breaking it down!

  • Shantel

    Impressive! I just bought a baking stone myself. I find it makes for incredible pizzas – with a BIG spatula to slide the pizza on and off the stone directly. And while you can’t bake cookies on the stone directly, the one batch I have made so far on another rack but with stone in oven were the crispest, tallest home-made cookies I have ever had. Hooray for the stone (and how funny that modern ovens need an adaptation to make things people enjoyed 500 years ago!)

  • Rachel

    Those look gorgeous! The people at Coquelicot should be scared. ;)

  • http://forkfingerschopsticks.com/ Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

    Gorgeous! Fresh baked bread can satisfy like nothing else. However, I usually leave that to someone else. Your post has removed some of the intimidation (not all). Thank you for such a helpful and practical post.

  • http://bit.ly/Ext2Rod CarolB

    I’ve always been nervous about starter. I’ve never worked with or prepared one. Maybe it’s time? I love baking bread and this post is just the kind of inspiration I need to take a leap of faith….

  • http://www.gggiraffe.blogspot.com Johanna GGG

    they look wonderful – I would love to have someone bring these to my house – in fact I held a lunch a few weeks back and a friend bought me a loaf of her sourdough bread and I was delighted

  • Joan

    “I have baked a number of batches since that day, and if I could bottle the feeling I get when I watch my baguettes rise through the oven door, then super-peel them out and listen to them chirp as they cool, I would pose a major threat to antidepressant manufacturers.”

    Clotilde, this is one of my favourite paragraphs to date..I see you as the next Ministre de la Santé et des Sports…of the world:-)

  • http://www.quickiesonthedinnertable.yolasite.com denise – quickies on the dinner table

    I’ve never tried making sourdough before, though I love baking bread. Your post is very inpiring and those baguettes are stunning! Thanks for the inspiration. You are my muse Clotilde :)

  • Cristina

    Just beautiful. Congratulations on all your great bread baking success!

  • http://frenchcookingfordummies.com French Cooking for Dummies

    wow… They look so crispy it makes me want to take a quick bite! Wonderful :D

  • http://www.cleacuisine.fr Clea

    Époustouflant ! Bravo !!

  • yummy

    They are indeed beautiful. But do you have an idea of where I could find a baking stone in France? (I need it to be able to bake bread and cookies properly in the cheap, old gas oven I recently inherited). I don’t even know the actual french word for it! I have only heard of it either here, or in American cookbooks…

    Thanks!

  • http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    35cm square! It’s odd how oven/baking stone space can seem like a luxury. I would love an extra 5cm on my stone.

    The bread looks wonderful. And the pictures and descriptions are super clear and easy to follow.

    I wish you many more wonderful rises in the future!

  • http://www.moveablefeastscookbook.blogspot.com Barbara

    Beautiful, Clotilde. I am always so impressed with everything you do. I can practically smell your bread….
    I doubt I will ever make this myself, first having been spoiled by breads in Paris and then I am fortunate enough to have a true French bakery in easy distance from my home.
    But I can watch you and dream!

  • http://www.cookincanuck.com Cookin’ Canuck

    I would be thrilled if someone gave me one of these baguettes as a hostess gift! Baking stones are definitely the way to go for a beautiful crust. I honestly don’t know what I did before I bought my stone.

  • Jammy

    Yum!
    I had great bread like that at “Central” in Washington DC. Fantastic!

  • http://www.moonstruckinmontana.blogspot.com Montana4Me

    I have been dying to try baguettes and your post was perfect motivation.

    Can’t wait to dive in and give them a try. Thanks!

  • http://www.brownandpink.com Annie

    those are the most perfect little baguettes I’ve ever seen

  • http://craftyllama.wordpress.com Sarah

    Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe Clotilde. I’ve just pulled my first batch out of the oven, they’re perfect! Photos on my blog.

  • http://www.alcorart.blogspot.com Mona

    I tried about 2/3 of the recipes in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, but I have not tried the baguette… I suppose I could prepare the dough and refrigerate or freeze and bake a small baguette every day … hmmm. Looks like baguettes are next on the list! Thanks!

  • http://www.tobiascooks.com tobias cooks!

    Thanks for the detailed description. very interesting.

  • Gemma

    YEs, the Bread Baker’s Apprentice is a simply fabulous book! I have learned so, so much from it. I can’t recommend it enough. It explains many things about the bread making process that is near and dear to my geekish self ;)

  • http://hungry4words@blogspot.com Chloe

    These look fantastic! If only baguette making wasn’t so time consuming. But it’s so worth it!

  • http://www.easybkitchen.com Tim Broxton

    Wow, I am so impressed with this technique. I cannot wait to try this method for myself. As you stated what a great gift as a host(ess). A bottle of wine, some good cheese and presto a lovely gathering. Your tireless directions filled with useful links is encouraging and lesson filled, thank you!

  • http://blogs.cotemaison.fr/aufildemesrevesdamour/ Eleonora

    Ah, notre bonne baguette française..mais c’est un régal dès le matin. Après c’est à midi et que dire du soir..On ne s’en lasse jamais …toujours là quand on a envie d’elle…

  • http://balancefood.blogspot.com Chou

    *love* the oven spring. Very well done, indeed.

  • pj81

    Does anyone know where I can buy a baking/pizza stone in Paris?

  • http://www.foodfashionmeetsfunction.com Kristin @ Food: Fashion Meets Function

    I love the idea of bringing homemade bread to a dinner party!

  • http://www.kitchentravels.com Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    Beautiful baguettes – brava!

  • Hilary

    Hi there – I’ve been lurking for a couple months here. Just delurking to say that this is my new favorite sourdough recipe!! I’ve been baking sourdough for the past two years and this is by far the simpliest and most successful method that I’ve tried to date.

    Before I was shaping my loaves before the refrigerated rest/rise, then they were taken out of the refrigerator 4 hours in advance of bake time. I did all the prep work on Sunday (including feeding my starter) and then shaped and baked on Monday after work – brilliant! I will be coming back to this method again and again.

    Thank you!!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Yummy and pj81 – Unfortunately, baking stones seem hard to come by in France — mine came as an accessory with my (Italian-brand) oven. I’ve seen them sold on eBay, though, but I haven’t tested any of these vendors, so I’m afraid I can’t offer a recommendation.

    Hilary – It couldn’t make me happier to hear this, thanks for reporting back! Have you made baguettes or bâtards with it? (It’s the quantities and method I use for all shapes, not just for baguettes.)

  • http://tnoranges.blogspot.com/ Alexandra Zeevy

    Beautiful beautiful bread! It’s just begging to have some salted butter spread on it. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.sneakymagpie.com Sneaky Magpie

    Clotilde, I made those baguettes twice now, first time as per your recipe, second time with 20% rye flour. Both times they came out delicious. Thank you so much!

  • Judy

    I’ve made these baguettes twice now, and they are great! And not too hard. I’ve had my starter about 20 years. I keep it in the fridge. I used to feed it once a week, but have gotten lax about that. I find it doesn’t mind being neglected, even up to a whole month. Supposedly, you can even freeze it, but I’ve never tried that.

  • jhilmil

    coudl you please tell me what this baking stone is called in french (switzerland)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Sneaky Magpie and Judy – So glad this post was helpful and that you had good success with your baguettes. Thanks for reporting back!

    jhilmil – Although I’ve yet to find a source for baking stones in France, I believe the French term would be pierre à pizza or pierre à pain.

  • http://foodiescientist.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    I have to tell you that you are my inspiration for finally getting a sourdough starter going! I have already made sourdough bread, pizza crust, banana bread, and I am on my second batch of your English muffins (the first batch was extremely delicious, by the way!!)

    I am so excited to try these!! Thank you for all of your helpful writing and inspiration!

  • http://flourandco.blogspot.com melivanilla

    Clotilde, your baguettes look amazing. The scoring turned out beautiful with lovely ‘ears’. I’m still yet to perfect scoring my loafs. Wonderful post as usual! x

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Sarah – I’m delighted to hear I gave you the nudge you needed. Happy baking!

    Melivanilla – Thanks for the compliment. I’ve found that using the right tool (a baker’s blade such as this one) makes a huge difference.

  • http://www.thecoffee-break.blogspot.com thecoffeebreak

    Wow!Your baguettes looks amazing! Good job!

  • http://www.louboo.com Lourdes

    Ever since you posted this recipe I’ve been salivating at the thought of making these beautiful baguettes at home with a starter, which in turn I started thinking about since you posted your own experience. *sigh* I am planning a kitchen remodel in the next 2 months so I keep telling myself as soon as I get the new kitchen, so I’ve printed out in the meantime this and the starter post and keeping them here to try as soon as I am able :) Love your blog, keep sharing with us, we all benefit from it!

  • http://www.projectjoiedevivre.com Catie @ Project: Joie de Vivre

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I really miss fresh French baguettes. When I returned from living in France for a year, I could totally tell the difference in tastes between French bread and American versions of French bread. I can’t wait to try this out!

  • http://rojblake.posterous.com rojblake

    Really nice gringe, I always struggle with the slashing and getting it to open up like that.

  • smu

    Hi Clotilde — thanks for all the guidance. I made these with my brand-new sourdough starter, and it was good enough to get me to try again! (My slashes were a bit deep, and I think that stunted the rise, but the flavor was so good.)

    Have you ever tried shaping the loaves the night before and leaving them covered in the fridge overnight? I’ve heard sourdough starter doesn’t respond well to more than one rise, but I’d be interested in your take.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m glad you gave that recipe a try and that your results are promising!

      I’ve never tried proofing the shaped loaves overnight for a very simple reason: my fridge is really not very big, and it’s impractical to free up an entire shelf to store the baguettes overnight.

      I’d be interested to hear what you think if you try it, though!

  • kellie

    is there anyway to get this recipe in western CUP measurement amounts? i tried to convert it, but my dough seems really sticky and the texture is unlike the pictures / videos i see for this recipe. the baguettes actually turned out really well, but i have a hard time working with such sticky dough. i am wondering if my measurement are off.

    thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s exactly the reason why I prefer not to give cup measurements for that kind of recipe, Kellie: measuring flour by volume yields unreliable amounts. They make very affordable digital kitchen scales now, and I strongly recommend getting one to anyone who’s interested in bread baking.

  • Millicent

    I’ve had great success with your boule recipe and am eager to try this one. But due to having a small oven and only a round pizza stone, I’ll be sticking with batards for now. How long does it take for the batards to bake?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The bâtards should bake in 30-35 minutes, but it’s always best to trust your eyes and check by knocking the bottom crust to make sure it sounds hollow.

  • Gail Brodnax

    I have tasted a French Baguette made with cocoa and dark chocolate chunks. I cannot find a recipe for this. Can anyone help me?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Let me point you to my recipe for chocolate bread, which you can shape into baguettes.

  • Anzelle

    Oh wow. Clotilde, I don’t know what to say… except thank you! These pretty things may be the best-looking baked goods ever to leave my oven – and I wouldn’t have had the guts to make my own sourdough if it weren’t for your enthusiasm for it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I couldn’t be more pleased, Anzelle, thanks for reporting back, and happy baking!

  • http://England pat Thomlinson

    Thank you so much for a wonderful site and tuition. My first baguettes with my first sourdough starter are in the oven – I’m so excited! I’ve made my own bread for years but only with the bought yeast so really looking forward to the result.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I hope they turned out great!

  • http://antiquariancooks.wordpress.com/ Delphine

    Making these this weekend. Can’t wait for fresh bread! Thanks!

  • Olive_oyl

    Question: My starter is 50%. Will it work? What should I change? I am a sourdough newbie here- just made my first two boules tonight with success, now want to go for the baguettes, which I’ve done successfully without sourdough in the past. Looking forward to these. 50% OK or no? Merci.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      A 50%-hydration starter will work, but you will need to use a little less of it and add more water to make up for the fact that your starter is “dryer”. Here, you should use 150g of your starter and add 50g water.

  • Frances

    This is now my go-to recipe for sourdough baguettes. The flavor is unsurpassed. Recently, I baked 12 loaves and gave them as hostess gifts (along with bottles of olive oil) – They were received with much eclat.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Delighted to hear it, thanks for reporting back!

  • http://www.windypainters.com Chicago painter

    Yesterday I made the baguettes using this recipe – of course it took me five days with making my own sourdough starter. I used whole wheat flour (King Arthur). The effect was excellent. The perfect crust. I still see room for improvement – I’ll try to use mix with bread flour. Anyway – thank you for this great recipe. My KitchenAid gets useful – finally :).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s great to hear, And, thanks for reporting back!

  • David Hollingworth

    Fantastic recipe, lovely baguettes! I used a terracotta tile from B&Q (about £5) as a baking stone, works really well.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Good tip, thank you David! And I’m glad you liked your baguettes.

  • Janet

    So excited with the baguettes. Turned out exactly like picture using Biodynamic flour from Eden Valley. I showed a lady who has written two books on sourdough and she was most impressed. Wanted to know the recipe. Sourdough by Yoke in Western Australia she is a great teacher.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m so pleased, Janet, thanks for reporting back!

      • Janet

        I didn’t use the gluten, it obviously didn’t need it. Janet

  • Renee

    Hi Clotilde,

    Thanks so much for this very instructive recipe! I am very new to starter – these baguettes will be my first attempt at a loaf using it! I am a little confused about the first step of this recipe. I feed my starter every morning with 35g flour/35g water. That does not leave me with enough starter to use. I see you say “feed it 70 grams flour plus 70 grams water” but at what point does that happen? Is that a second feeding or does that larger amount replace what is fed that morning? Your Natural Starter Bread recipe says you prepare a sponge – do the baguettes require that too? Thank you for your time!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Congrats on getting started! Baking with a starter is such a fun and gratifying adventure.

      This recipe starts with 200g ripe starter, so you will need to build it up in advance, following the instructions I’ve detailed in the natural starter bread post under the heading Preparing enough starter for a new loaf. Hope that helps!

      • Renee

        Ah, yes that helps. I made the bread using the chef starter from that morning’s feed and of course the dough didn’t rise overnight. I baked it anyhow and it made two delicious seeded flatbreads and a dense but delicious and totally edible baguette. I am hopeful and will try again with the ripe starter. Thank you!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          You’re very welcome. I’ve made my share of bricks too, it’s a rite of passage! :) Best of success with the rest of your bread adventures.

  • Rosi

    Thank you very much for all the details shared! Ive worked with starter before, but baguettes were my fiasco until now. Today I baked finally very nice, crunchy and delicious baguettes of my own!!!! Thank you again!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m so happy to hear that, Rosi, thank you and well done!

  • Mike

    Dear Clotilde,
    I’ve followed your baguette recipe. I find the dough much too wet. It is unfortunately unshapeable. It looked more like a Ciabatta than a baguette.
    I find this weird because i added extra flour to the dough.
    I have two years of sourdough baking experince (I bake all the bread we eat in our household).
    I do not know why it went wrong…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for reporting back, Mike. What flour, or mix of flours are you using?

  • Mike

    Hi,
    Thanks for your reaction. I have used this so called special baquette flour. The bread I baked looked like a ciabatta.
    My friend tried your recipe too. With the same flour and the same results.
    The flour comes from a good mill:
    http://www.krijgermolenaars.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Recept_Farine_fleur_20130315.pdf

    Krijger molenaars in Renesse (Holland).
    Its a T65 flour.

  • MichaelB

    Hi Clotilde,

    This looks like a terrific recipe. I’ve been looking for a baguette recipe in which I can use my sourdough starter, and this looks like the right one. But I’ll have to convert my stiff starter to a wet one. I’ve been making baguettes using the recipe in the Bread Bible, which makes very tasty but not very good looking loafs. Have you ever tried the Bread Bible recipe and if so how do you think it compares to yours?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I haven’t tried it, no! If you have an e-version of it you could send to me privately, I’d be happy to take a look.

      • MichaelB

        Ok, will try to send it later this week. Mike

  • Elliot hertz

    Clotilde,
    I love the way you make things so clear and understandable. I never really understood the full purpose of a baking stone before. Soon as I return home I will make your sour dough baguettes. Thank you. Everything I bake (almost) is sour dough.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Do report back when you try it!

  • CT

    Thanks for the recipe! I made it this past week and was skeptical because the dough was so soft and sticky, but they turned out well! I used 100% white AP flour, next time I’m going to add a bit of whole wheat for a deeper flavour.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I’m delighted, thanks for reporting back!

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